Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Aishath Nahla has said that international bunkering services will be launched in Ihavandhippolhu this year.
Speaking at a ceremony held to mark International Maritime Day, Minister Nahla said an oil storage is being set up in Ihavandhippolhu and that preparations are underway to begin bunkering services.
Noting that the number of cargo ships arriving in the Maldives has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Nahla said the benefits to the Maldives' shipping sector are increasing.
The Minister further said President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration was working to develop and strengthen the maritime transport sector. The training programs conducted in this regard will be very beneficial, she added.
Earlier in February, Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail said that although it was not feasible to construct a transshipment harbor that could accommodate large vessels in Ihavandhippolhu, the government would begin work on the project within this year.
Speaking to the Parliament's Economic Committee, Minister Fayyaz said at the time that the previous government had said that a study conducted by US-based Boston Consultancy Group showed that the project was not commercially viable. Stating that the current government has also done a study, he said its results also confirmed that such a project would not be commercially feasible.