Econ minister addresses concerns over Cochin ferry service

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ibrahim has responded to concerns voiced over the Maldives-India cargo ferry service.

Local businesses and economic experts have claimed that the new ferry service could cause more challenges in bringing cargo to the Maldives. Experts have described the move as a potential ‘trap’ for the Maldivian economy.

Speaking about the concerns, Economic Minister Fayyaz said the cargo ferry will only carry goods purchased by Maldivian importers. The arrangement provides the certainty of shipping between India and Maldives, said Fayyaz. The only difference from the current cargo vessels is that the designated ferries will run on a schedule, and allows for easier trade, said the minister.

The ferry service to Cochin, India is the first of its kind adopted in the Maldives. Scheduled ferries have not been operated between Maldives and a foreign country via sea transport until now. The route of the ferry will be from Cochin to Kulhudhuffushi and then to the capital Male’.

The vessel named MCP Linz will depart from Tuticorin and will berth at Cochin port tomorrow before starting its journey to the MAldives. The ferry will reach Kulhuduffushi this Saturday, and will depart to Maldives after three days. The boat will remain in Maldives for ten days before departing to India once again. Goods such as machinery, furniture, perishables and medications will be brought via the first ferry according to reports.

The government has assured that the cargo ferry service would strengthen and enhance the trade relations between India and Maldives. Since the ferry will be stopping at Kulhudhuffushi city in the north, this would allow for businesses in the region to thrive, and will allow for Maldivian goods to reach an Indian market.This would in turn allow for the goods to reach an international market via India, the government has said. Indian ambassador to the Maldives, Sanjau Sudhir has also assured that the ferry service would ease the difficulties in transporting goods, and that it would allow for goods to be imported at better rates than from the Colombo and Dubai route.