State-run Shipping Corporation of India Ltd will start a direct service linking Kochi and Tuticorin with Male in the third week of September. The service is expected to boost bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.
The service will deploy a container cum break-bulk vessel that can carry 200 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 3,000 metric tonnes of break bulk cargo, with a round voyage of ten days, according to a Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) official.
The ship is expected to carry electrical machinery and equipment, white goods such as televisions and home appliances, pharmaceuticals, medicines, iron and steel, construction material, sand, clothes, fabric and textiles, bathroom fittings and furniture and perishables, including fruits, vegetables, eggs and foodgrains.
The direct shipping service follows a trip to Maldives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June last year, during which the two nations stressed on the need to improve connectivity between India and Maldives through supporting infrastructure, to give an impetus to bilateral trade and people-to-people contact between the two countries.
A memorandum of understanding was signed on June 8, 2019, to start a direct passenger-cum-cargo ferry service between India and the Maldives, to provide an alternative, direct and cheaper means of transport for goods and passengers and to further economic, social and cultural ties between the two nations.
The service is expected to add Beypore port at Kozhikode in Kerala and Chennai port to its itinerary later.