The vessel was received with fanfare. The maiden voyage of the direct Cargo Ferry Service between India and the Maldives was jointly launched on September 21 with an aim to enhance bilateral trade and bring down costs for consumers.
This is the first ferry service in the Indian Ocean region operated by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). The vessel is carrying garments, food items, kitchen equipment, coir pith, machinery tools, etc for the Maldives on its maiden voyage.
In a virtual event – the Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid, the Transport Minister Mrs. Aishath Nahula, the Island Council of Kulhudhufushi, and the High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir – attended by the receiving ceremony of the vessel.
The Cargo service connects Tuticorin and Cochin ports in India with Kulhudhufushi and Male ports in the Maldives. The MCP Linz is a combination vessel which can carry 380 TEUs and 3000 MT on bulk cargo and will have a turnaround time of 10-12 days for its voyages.
The vessel has reefer plugs for refrigerated containers. This vessel provides direct cargo connectivity between India and the Maldives on a predictable and affordable basis for the first time and will lower costs and times for traders in both countries.
Nurtured by close historical and cultural ties, Indians and Maldivians have traded for centuries. The Cargo Ferry Service is visioned as a key instrument to upgrade the trade partnership.
Besides the expansion of markets for MSMEs in India, the Cargo Ferry service will provide an opportunity to Maldivian exporters of tuna and other marine products to scope the vast Indian market and also explore European markets through Cochin and Tuticorin ports.
Report by: Abhishek Jha