Availability of top quality natural dry rubber has been a driving factor behind the success of Sri Lanka’s tyre industry.
Rubber products are one of the largest export income sources in Sri Lanka and its manufacturing sector can be classified broadly into two segments; latex-based products and dry rubber-based products. While latex-based products include gloves, mattresses, swim caps, condoms, balloons and associated products, dry rubber-based products include tyres, shoes, floor mat, conveyor belts, engine mounts, and bridge bearings.
Initiated in the early 1950s, Sri Lanka was first established as a tyre retreading centre and the introduction of free trade policies and investment promotion zones in late 1970 gave a boost to an industry, which has now grown to be one of the best in the world. The country’s tyre industry is dominated by private sector investments and joint ventures between local organisations and world leaders in the tire industry.
Today, Sri Lanka is the largest solid tyre manufacturer in the world catering to nearly 25% of the global demand. In addition, the country also produces pneumatic and semi-pneumatic tyres, tubes, and retreading materials for the global market. Produced under environmentally sustainable manufacturing guidelines, EU REACH regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, and global quality standard, country’s tyre sector accounted for more than 60% share in the total value of rubber exports from Sri Lanka while solid tyres and new pneumatic tyres accounted for 61% and 38% of the export value in the local tyre sector, respectively.
While the majority of pneumatic tires from Sri Lanka is exported to the Asian Pacific region, USA and EU countries continue to be the main buyers for solid tires made in Sri Lanka.