India-Sri Lanka ferry service to resume, strengthening bilateral connectivity and economic partnership

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The passenger ferry service between Nagapattinam in India and Kankesanthurai (KKS) near Jaffna in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, which was launched in October 2023 by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), will tentatively resume on May 13, 2024, as announced by the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

In a statement, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka mentioned that the ferry service will be operated by a private operator, IndSri Ferry Services, selected by SCI in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL).

To ensure the service remains affordable and attractive for passengers, the Government of India has decided to cover relevant charges and operating costs at Nagapattinam port, amounting to over LKR 25 million per month for a period of one year. Similarly, the Sri Lankan government has reduced the deviation tax currently imposed on passengers leaving Sri Lanka by passenger vessels and ships.

The statement also recalled that the Government of India extended a grant assistance of USD 63.65 million to the GOSL for the rehabilitation of the KKS Harbour, which was initially planned under a Line of Credit. This reflects India’s strong commitment to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and its journey towards progress and prosperity, in close collaboration with India.

Moreover, the Indian High Commission in Colombo emphasized that strengthening maritime connectivity between India and Sri Lanka is a crucial component of the vision document for economic partnership jointly adopted during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India in July 2023.

“The resumption of the ferry service reaffirms the people-centric policies of the Government of India,” the statement noted. During the launch of the service in October 2023, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi highlighted that connectivity is not just about bringing two cities closer, but also about bringing countries and their people closer. He mentioned that the people of Sri Lanka will benefit from the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor launched during the G20 summit in India in September 2023, as multimodal connectivity between our two countries is strengthened.

Furthermore, the Indian High Commission in Colombo communicated that future connectivity with Sri Lanka will be further enhanced through electricity grid interconnection, a two-way multipurpose pipeline, and the establishment of a land connectivity economic corridor.