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Fri, 31 October 2014 16:39:41
Sri Lank, India ferry opens new route for people, vehicles
06 Jul, 2011 07:01:15
July 06, 2011 (LBO) - A new ferry service between India and Sri Lanka offers a cheaper alternative to airlines for tourists, traders and pilgrims and even the ability to drive across, the head of the company running the service said.
"Our aim was to keep the price much less than that of airlines which is what we done," said P K Thimmayya, chief executive of Flemingo Liners, a ferry passenger and cargo service company promoted by Flemingo Duty Free Shop and Tradex Shipping.

"What we're offering is reasonable, not very cheap. The passengers who have done the journey seem to be reasonably happy with the pricing."

Thimmayya said they had held talks with authorities in both countries to enable travellers to drive across in their own vehicles using the ferry 'Scotia Prince' which began operating in early June.

The nine-deck ferry operates twice a week between Colombo and the south Indian port of Tuticorin and can accommodate 1,044 passengers, around 300 tonnes of cargo and vehicles.

"The world over people can drive abroad. There already exists a system where travellers can take a six month permit and drive through," Thimmayya told LBO in an interview.

Travellers wanting to take vehicles across can get the required approvals from the automobile association in their country.

"We are extremely enthusiastic to do this," Thimmayya said. "It is an area which will attract an entirely new set of people and services."

Thimmayya said passenger load factors on the ferry were still not high enough for breakeven and estimates it would take a couple of years for the service to become profitable.

He said the 100 kilo baggage allowance was yet to be used in a big way by passengers.

"As of now not many are using it. There are still not too many traders travelling. We hope somewhere down line we would have people using it. There is an existing market - a community of people trading."

Most travellers were tourists and the company has now published fixed schedules which will enable pilgrims to use the ferry service as well, he said.
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READER COMMENT(S)
3. fb Jul 08
Why should it be a disaster? Indians are hired by local businesses out of their free will. They will not hire unless there was a benefit. Indians work out of free will.

This is like Sri Lankans working in Dubai.

No free exchange of goods or services is bad for a human being. Nations are made out of individuals. When individuals benefit nations benefit. Already many Sri Lankan industries are feeling the pinch of labour market tightening. In laymen's words in means people have other things to do.

What we need is to do the CEPA quickly so that the exchange of services can take place in a transparent manner.

2. Bun Key Choon Jul 07
There will more Indians working illegally, another Disaster
1. kvswar Jul 06
Many tourists from India will travel to beautiful SriLanka if this ship operates from Chennai.