Kochi – Dubai passenger ship: Two companies shortlisted, new route decided

One can carry three times as much luggage as on an airplane on a cruise. Photo: kerrickphotos/iStock

Kochi: Two companies have been shortlisted for operating the much-awaited ship service between Kerala and Gulf. This is a significant milestone for the mega project that envisages affordable passenger ship service in the Kochi – Dubai route. The discussions regarding this are led by the Kerala Maritime Board. The Board had invited applications from companies that were interested in operating the service, in March this year. Now, two companies have been selected from among the applicants. Kozhikode-based Jabal Ventures Private Limited and White Shipping based in Chennai are the companies that made it to the final list. Kerala Maritime Board Chairman NS Pillai told us that the Board has held meetings with both companies and that they have expressed immense interest in the project.

Service in three months
The Board will now cooperate with the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the Shipping Corporation of India to solve the legal problems that may arise. Besides, it will also submit a detailed report including the study of scope provided by both the companies, to the state government. The contract of agreement would be finalised only after deciding the kind of relaxations that may be provided to the shipping companies. Meanwhile, the Maritime Board chairman said that both the companies have agreed to start the service within three months after receiving the contract of agreement.

New route
Earlier, the project was planned from Beypore to Dubai; however, Kochi has now been finalised. It may take up to three days from a port in Kerala to reach Dubai. There had been demands to make the service available for less than Rs 10,000. The Malabar Development Council which had been demanding such a passenger shipping service noted that the service would be a huge success if tickets were affordable. They also pointed out that there aren’t enough flights to carry foot wares, food items like Kozhikode halwa and agricultural products to the Gulf region. Ships that can accommodate up to 1200 passengers are being considered for the project. Meanwhile, the authorities say that the tourism sector too could benefit from the passenger ship service. They add that the service would be projected as a passenger-cargo service. The Kerala Maritime Board considers launching cruise services to other states as well as within the ports in Kerala. The Board had invited applications from companies that are interested in being part of this project. Around 12 companies have reportedly shown interest in this. 

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