India-Maldives ferry service on hold

The proposed ferry service from India to Maldives may not see the light of the day anytime soon, as the private companies which had earlier evinced interest in it are now shying away due to hefty port charges.

 

"The proposal of starting the ferry service to Maldives from Cochin has been put on the back-burner, as the private companies are finding it economically unviable," an official in the Ministry of Shipping told PTI. The companies have said that port charges are high across the entire route, including at the two destinations involved.

 

The ministry had proposed commencing ferry services for furthering tourism to and from Maldives -- connecting Cochin and Male. The companies maintain that port charges for the ferry services, which would ply every alternate day, should not be on par with commercial cargos, which ply twice a week. "They (companies) feel that they would not be able make profits if their port charges are the same as those of the cargos," the official said. However, the private companies are believed to have approached the government with their grievances but are yet to receive any favourable news.

 

A bi-weekly ''passenger-cum-ferry'' service between Cochin and Male in Maldives was proposed by the Ministry of Shipping this year. It was also suggested the service would be run by a private operator, but facilities on either port of call would be arranged by the concerned ports. The government had also decided to approach Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) for providing technical assistance to operationalise the service.