Tuticorin-Colombo sea route reopens

11 February 2011 06:00 am - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Shipping of cargo between the Tuticorin and Colombo in Sri Lanka will resume after a gap of three years on February 12 when 350 tonnes of commodities will set sail from the southern port. The small mechanised boat, M S V Raj, will carry turmeric, salt, chilli and tamarind and reach Colombo the following day.

The bustling port town on Tamil Nadu's east coast, has a hoary past, as it was here that freedom fighter V O Chidambaram Pillai launched his own swadeshi shipping service with his ship S S Gaelia, between Tuticorin and Colombo on November 12, 1906, in a bid to destroy the business prospects of the British company.

Tuticorin was one of the major Indian ports since ancient times and there are records to show that trade flourished between this port and other countries even way back in the 6th century AD. Cargo vessels, that is mechanised boats were operated by many agents through this port to  Sri Lanka and Maldives for many years, but the trade to Colombo was called off in 2008 at the height of the ethnic violence in the Island nation.

Now, with normalcy returning in Sri Lanka, the two countries decided to allow cargo services. The passenger ferry service on this route is expected to begin soon, Union shipping minister G K Vasan had announced recently. The Association of owners of Mechanised boats has identified Ms Snow Shipping Services (SSS) for the cargo transport and the loading of the 350 tonne cargo including turmeric, salt, chilli and tamarind into the vessel started on Thursday. The cargo vessels are operated at the Old Port which is called Zone B.

S Dhanabal of SSS told TOI that the firm would be the only cargo operator for now and that the vessel would sail once a week. The first journey will start at 6 am on Saturday and will reach Colombo in 24 hours. "We had to call off the earlier services due to various reasons including security during the violence in Sri Lanka, when most of the commodities perished before they were off loaded in that port," he said.

Tuticorin Port Trust chairman A Subbiah said the port had nothing to do with this cargo transport as it was purely a commercial aspect and agencies were entrusted with the job. "But, the port is now ready for passenger traffic between Tuticorin and Colombo with work with regard to customs and immigration services being completed. The shipping firm Flamingo had been awarded the contract for the passenger vessel for a period of seven years and everything was ready for passenger traffic to resume on this route from the first week of March," he said. (The Times of India)

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  Comments - 8

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  • Calistus Jayatilleke Friday, 11 February 2011 09:32 AM

    Bring some camels and ostriches too!

    I Hussein Friday, 11 February 2011 10:32 AM

    After unloading salt termaric temarind etc return empty handed? what do we export - WW?

    xlntgson Friday, 11 February 2011 10:45 AM

    We all so can export our goods cheap like tea cinnamon etc.

    Narayan Friday, 11 February 2011 11:11 AM

    Importing salt is a shame for an island nation surrounded by sea. Utter shame that we are not capable to produce salt to meet our demands

    Firaz Anver Friday, 11 February 2011 06:11 AM

    Suba Anagahayak! Bring more and more goods like eggs, coconut etc. and let all the money go out of sri lanka. Try also to get down some ministers from India.

    Konde bendapu china Friday, 11 February 2011 07:10 AM

    Good Start,

    Navin Friday, 11 February 2011 07:59 AM

    what a shame; importing turmeric, salt, chilli and tamarind....

    Nihal Amarasekera Friday, 11 February 2011 08:28 AM

    Bring Vaiko, the cardboard hero, for a site seeing tour of the North East, handy "cargo"


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