THOOTHUKUDI: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Shipping Mansukh L Mandaviya and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives Aishath Nahulajointly launched a direct cargo ferry service between India and Maldives.
The launch fulfils the commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the Maldives in June, 2019, and the announcement made by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar during his virtual meeting with the Foreign Minister of Maldives on August 13, 2020, stated a press note from Thoothukudi VO Chidambaranar port.
According to officials, the vessel would sail from Thoothukudi VOC port (new harbour) to Kochi, from where it would proceed to Kulhudhuffushi Port in North Maldives and then to Male Port.
Operated by the Shipping Corporation of India, the ferry service would run thrice a month and provide a cost-effective, direct and alternative means of transportingcargo, including vegetables, rice, garments among other essentials, to the Maldives.
The vessel “MCP Linz”, carrying 16 TEUs of containers and 2,000 tonnes of cement cargo, began its maiden journey from Thoothukudi on September 21. It has been scheduled to reach Kulhudhuffushi port on September 26 and Male port on September 29.
‘Direct cargo service another milestone’
Terming the service “another milestone in the comprehensive bilateral relations between the two countries”, Mandaviya said that it would further cement the close ties between the countries by enhancing people-to-people contact and boosting bilateral trade.
Expressing deep appreciation, Aishath Nahula said the service reflected the close ties of friendship and cooperation between the countries.
She said that an event at Kulhudhuffushi portwould be organised for receiving the vessel, in which event several political leaders, including herself, Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid and the members of the parliament of Maldives, would participate.