By: Staff Writer
Passenger ferry service from Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna and Puducherry is slated to commence from April 29 between the two countries India and Sri Lanka.
The ferry service will connect the Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna district and Puducherry. Sri Lanka’s Ports and Shipping minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Indian government had extended consent for the service.
The passenger ferry service is likely to boost the tourism sector as well as strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries.
The service is being started in view of several demands to improve connectivity. Sri Lanka’s Ports and Shipping minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that services will also be started from Southern India to Trincomalee and Colombo in Sri Lanka.
The minister has asked the officials to develop infrastructure related to customs, immigration and emigration, and other facilities at the Sri Lankan ports. The vessels under the new service will carry 300 to 400 passengers on a trip that would take about three and half hours.
Ferry owners suggested that they would have to charge 60 dollars equivalent to 5,000 rupees per passenger for a single journey and that each passenger could carry up to 100 kg of luggage.
A discussion on the proposed ferry service between Pondicherry in India and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka was held on Friday (March 24) under the patronage of Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva.
The meeting had also been joined by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, officials of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Sri Lanka Navy and the owners of ferries and companies that have expressed interest to operate ferry services.
During the discussion with Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, ferry owners have mentioned that they will be charging 50 US Dollars per passenger for a one-way trip, while allowing a passenger to carry baggage weighing 100kg. Only daytime operations will be in effect during the first stage.
A ferry is expected to carry 150 passengers at a time and will take around 4 hours to travel from Karaikal Port in Pondicherry to Kankesanthurai.
Ferry service owners emphasized that only daytime operations will be in effect during the first stage of operations.
According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, a passenger terminal is currently being constructed at the Kankesanthurai Port to facilitate the ferry service.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority has provided a financial facility of Rs. 144 million for the total constructions that are carried out by the Sri Lanka Navy.
The terminal upon completion of its construction is expected to be handed over to the SLPA by the 02nd week of April.
The Minister has also stated that the expansion activities of the Port of Kankesanthurai will be expedited and the Sri Lankan government has already requested 16 million US Dollars from the Indian Exim Bank due to the credit grant facility granted by India for construction becoming insufficient at present.