Ceylon Leather Products Limited (CLPL) have achieved new heights in their 62-year-old history as the only local manufacturer of highly-specialised anti-mine shoes for the Sri Lankan armed forces and foreign Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). ‘We are the exclusive local supplier of these technically-advanced anti-mine shoes for de-mining operations in Sri Lanka’, says Reggie N Jayasena, CLPL’s marketing manager.

As the first shoe factory established at Mattakkuliya by the British in 1942 to make boots and accessories for British troops, the company are now the largest leather producer in the country.

In addition to the armed services, CLPL supply specialised anti-mine shoes to the Danish De-Mining Group, Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, Sarvatra Technical Consultants, JVC Private Limited and the Halo Trust. The company supply 500 pairs of anti-mine shoes and 300 pairs of flexible de-mining boots per month, Jayasena said. ‘There is a growing demand but the meticulous manufacturing process is time consuming.’ Priced at Rs2,500 (US$25) per pair, an anti-mine shoe is akin to a mini armoured car for personnel engaged in de-mining, he elaborated.

CLPL, the successor to the former state-owned Leather Products Corporation, was acquired by S A Perera & Co Ltd, following their privatisation in 1991. With the biggest tannery in Sri Lanka established in 1970, the company make a range of top quality leather products including DI shoes.

CLPL also export leather products to Italy, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong among other countries. ‘There is also a big demand for our safety shoes from top Sri Lankan companies concerned about industrial safety’, Jayasena said.