Maldives govt to consider pleas of thoni operators for waiving pilotage, tug charges
Mackenna also demanded speedy consignment unloading so that the tug charges levied can be reduced and the number of handlings could be minimised.
THOOTHUKUDI: Special attention will be paid to the demands of 'Thoothukudi thoni vessel' owners, said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maldives Ports Limited Janab Shahid Ali, during a trade promotion meeting held in Thoothukudi.
A delegation from the Republic of Maldives visited the city and held discussions with the Thoni vessel operators with a view to improving the trade relations between the Thoothukudi old port and the Male ports. Traditional trading vessels known as 'thonis' are being operated from the Thoothukudi old harbour (Zone B port), and they supply essentials and consumer goods for the people of Maldives.
While addressing the meeting, General Secretary Ubald Raj Mackenna requested the Maldivian delegation to waive off the tug charges for the 'thoni vessels' weighing less than 500 tonnes, reduce or waive the pilotage, subsidise stevedoring charges for the direct delivery of consignments to new ports like Kulhudhuffushi and Addu. Mackenna also demanded speedy consignment unloading so that the tug charges levied can be reduced and the number of handlings could be minimised.
As a majority of the consumer goods are being sent from Thoothukudi port, the tug charges, stevedoring charges, and pilotage are attributed to the cost at the consumer end, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, CEO Janab Shahid Ali said that the shipping route from Thoothukudi to Male, is an important supply route. The perishables and general cargo required for the Maldives are being supplied from Thoothukudi. "We have discussed elaborately to improve the trade and enhance the facilities with the trade partners with the ambitions to make these operations more efficient," he said. The demands raised by the coastal sail vessel owners' association will be considered with special attention, Ali said.