‘MCP Linz’ has docked in Maldives capital, Malé City.
The maiden ferry from the cargo ferry service launched between India and Maldives docked in Kulhudhuffushi City early morning on Saturday.
The vessel brought in about 500 tonnes of goods including construction materials such as cement bags, and agricultural goods were unloaded from the ferry before it sets off to capital city Malé with more cement bags and other construction equipment, food supply and machineries.
The maiden voyage of the service was launched jointly by Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) of India, Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of the Maldives, Aishath Nahula during a virtual ceremony on September 21.
Operated by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), the cargo ferry vessel, ‘MCP Linz’ will connect Tuticorin and Cochin ports of India with Kulhudhufushi City and Madives capital, Malé City. The combination vessel has the capacity to carry 380 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) and 3,000 metric tons of bulk cargo and has a turnaround time of 10 – 12 days for its voyages.
Discussions to initiate the service between both countries was held during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Maldives during 2019, after the PM’s address to the People’s Majlis. Following this, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the neighboring country’s shipping ministry and the transport ministry of Maldives.
India will subsidize the service at approximately USD three million.
The cargo ferry service is deemed a key instrument to upgrade the trade partnership and liberate logistics on both sides. The service connectivity to the northern port of Kulhudhuffushi will “underpin the economic development” in the north of Maldives and facilitate investments in tourism and other engines of prosperity.
The cargo ferry service has been described as another commitment delivered by India to connect markets of both countries and unlock trade and investment potential between both countries. Ferries have been scheduled 2 – 3 times a month.