SRI LANKA is planning to resume regular passenger ferry services between Colombo and the south Indian port city of Tuticorin within the next three months.
Twice-weekly Colombo-Tuticorin services operated by Flemingo Liners Dubai using the 1,000-pax Scotia Princess were halted last November, due to lower-than-expected load factors.
Earlier this year, Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSE), which handles the route on behalf of the Sri Lankan government, called for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from cruise operators interested in resuming the service. Prerequisites include being able to deploy a ship with 500-pax capacity and shortening the trip duration to eight to nine hours, from 14 hours previously.
Sunil Obadage, general manager, CSE said three EOIs had been received to date, and that a decision was expected within the next month or so.
“Unlike before, we didn’t call for tenders, but EOIs, because we want potential operators to also come up with some ideas,” he explained.
“Our Indian agent said there had been many inquiries to resume the service, as parents and children are keen to visit Sri Lanka for the next school holidays.”