India launches first Cargo Ferry Service to Maldives

Published: September 22, 2020

The Minister of State for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya recently launched the first direct Cargo Ferry service to Maldives. The service will help boost the business and trade relations between the countries. The launch of the service will also help to boost Neighbourhood First Policy.

Highlights

The service will connect Tuticorin and Cochin ports of Indi with Male and Kulhudhuhfushi ports of Maldives. India is to subsidize the service at 3 million USD. The cargo ferry link is to be operated by the Shipping Corporation of India.

Significance

The service will benefit small and medium enterprises largely. The Tuna fish exporters of Maldives can now enter Indian market with ease and will also gain opportunities to send their goods to Europe through Tuticorin and Cochin ports. Also, the move is beneficial for Indian exporters as the Maldives Parliament recently announced 50% reduction in custom duties for imports that are cleared at Kulhudhuffushi port.

Also, the Maldives Government recently expanded the Hanimaadhoo Airport with the help of credit from the India. Thus, the freight ferry service is to boost the service link to the economic growth of Northern Maldives. It will facilitate investments in tourism and machinery.

MCP Linz

The Cargo Vessel MCP Linz has been deployed to transport cargo between the countries. The ferry is to be operated by the Shipping Corporation of India. It is capable of carrying 3,000 metric tonnes of bulk cargo. Also, the ferry has a storage facility. It is well equipped to carry all types of commodities such as furniture, machinery, pharma products and other perishable goods.

Background

In 2019, India and Maldives signed Memorandum of Understanding when PM Modi visited Maldives based on which the ferry is being launched now. The feasibility study to operate the ferry service was performed by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

Recent Developments

In August 2010, India and Maldives signed an agreement to develop five eco tourism zones in Addu Atoll of Maldives. In July 2020, the GoI handed over a cheque of 5.6 million USD. It is to be used for High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP).

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