Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is all set to commence a direct container and break-bulk cargo shipping service under the direction of Ministry of Shipping (MoS) and support of the Ministry of External affairs (MoEA).
A maiden direct voyage between India and Maldives is scheduled to be flagged off from Tuticorin Port on September 21, 2020.
The service will deploy a container-cum-break-bulk vessel that can carry 200 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 3,000 tonnes of break bulk cargo, with a round voyage of 10 days.
SCI will start the service with one ship, and plans to add more vessels when more cargo is generated. The service is expected to add Beypore port at Kozhikode in Kerala and Chennai port to its itinerary later.
Despite the close proximity between the two countries, the freight rate for shipping a cargo container from India to Maldives is $850-1,000. In comparison, the container shipping freight was one-third or even lower to Colombo and Dubai.
India is currently ranked fourth in the import basket of Maldives with a 9.7 per cent share. Goods moving to Maldives gets transhipped through Colombo or Dubai.