'RTL is the backbone of decentralization': Pres Solih

The National Ferry System or Raajje Transport Link (RTL), which was officially launched on Sunday, is the cornerstone of the decentralization development that the people want, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said.

In a tweet posted on the occasion of the launch of the RTL service, President Solih said the newly launched transport system would connect the islands of the archipelago and eliminate social and economic isolation while also integrating island economies with the national economy.

"This is the backbone of the decentralization that we want," he said.

The RTL system will be implemented over three phases by Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC). The first phase, launched on Sunday, links Haa Alif, Haa Dhaalu, and Shaviyani atoll.

MTCC is preparing to link the entire country with the Integrated National Public Ferry Network before the end of September this year, after enhancing the services in the three northernmost atolls next month. The national ferry system will connect the islands by commute, non-commute, and highway links.

Commute links are daily trips between nearby islands, while non-commute links are journeys between two islands that are a bit farther apart in distance. This includes non-daily airport trips and business trips. Highway links are long journeys connecting one region's transport hub to the other.