No takers for Kochi-Male ferry service

The proposed ferry service between Kochi and Maldives has ‘sailed’ into trouble even before hitting the waters. No company has so far responded to the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI) invited by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) for the service, according to the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) authorities.

 

“The response to the EoI is very cold,” said Paul Antony, chairman, CPT.

 

The SCI would be a facilitator for the proposed ferry service supposed to be operated by a private company. The weekly service was proposed to begin by February 2012. A team of officers from the Maldives Ports Ltd (MPL), led by its deputy-CEO Hussain Naeem,  had held discussions with the CPT authorities during the last week of November 2011.

 

It was decided in the meeting that the Shipping Corporation of India would invite an Expression of Interest for the service. It was also decided to structure the ferry service as a cargo-cum-passenger service with a passenger capacity of 300, carrying 15 to 20 containers and about 500 tonnes of break-bulk cargo.

 

The CPT is to provide berth facility at the BTP Jetty. 

 

“We expect that the SCI would take an appropriate decision in this regard soon,” said Paul Antony.

 

 Earlier, the Maldivian authorities had sought time for developing port infrastructure at destinations in Male. Currently, a large amount of cargo from Kerala and south Tamil Nadu is being moved to Male through intermediate ports like Singapore and Dubai.

From Tuticorin to Male also there is limited movement of cargo. But with the proposed ferry service there will be an increase in the cargo movement, as the transit time between Kochi and Male will only take one day.

 

For the movement of perishable cargo thus the direct service from Kochi is considered to be ideal.

 

Meanwhile, the cruise terminal facility at CPT being constructed at a cost of `7 crore is expected to be completed by this month.