Maldives turmoil: Trade not hit

Perishables aside, Maldivians also depend heavily on Thiruvananthapuram for healthcare, which has given birth to a flourishing economy

Published: 08th February 2018 10:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2018 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

Cargo ship. For representative purpose only

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The political turmoil in the Maldives, the picturesque island nation situated South of the Lakshadweep Islands, has, so far, not hit trade with India which takes place via the two South Indian ports including Vizhinjam. Finesse Shipping Lines Pvt Ltd, the company which handles the shipping of perishables from Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu said the internal crisis in the tiny Indian Ocean nation has not affected trade so far. Finesse, which has offices at Jawahar Nagar in the city, has been handling the shipping of fruits and vegetables to the Maldives since 1995.

“So far we have not been affected. In fact, we don’t expect the political problems to affect shipping,” Sajjad Sait, managing director, Finesse Shipping Lines, said. His company plies ships twice a week from Tuticorin and once a month from Vizhinjam to the Maldives.

In fact, this makes Vizhinjam the only Forex earning one among the small or intermediate ports in the state. Between 2009 and 2016, the small port at Vizhinjam handled 277 vessels in all. In 2016-17 alone, the port hosted 37 vessels, most of which were plying between Maldives and Thiruvananthapuram. In fact, according to the Economic Review of the state government, the volume of commodities handled by Vizhinjam port has shot up by 20.78 per cent.

Perishables aside, Maldivians also depend heavily on Thiruvananthapuram for healthcare, which has given birth to a flourishing economy centered on hospitals, lodges and restaurants in the neighbourhood of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. The island nation was also the first to open a full consulate in Thiruvananthapuram in view of this relationship.

It was from Thiruvananthapuram the Indian armed forces launched Operation Cactus which foiled a coup attempt in the Maldives in 1988. The latest crisis has been triggered by the Maldivian president’s refusal to heed the Supreme Court and his decision to impose an emergency.

Port officials at Vizhinjam said so far, there has been no indication of any halt in trade with the Maldives. “We have not received any alerts in this regard,” Surendranath, Port purser, said.

Trade details
Between 2009 and 2016, the small port at Vizhinjam handled 277 vessels in all
In 2016-17 alone, the port hosted 37 vessels, most of which were plying between Maldives and Thiruvananthapuram
The volume of commodities handled by Vizhinjam port has shot up by 20.78 per cent
The Maldives’ trade with India takes place via the two South Indian ports including Vizhinjam
The island nation was also the first to open a consulate in the capital city

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