The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation has announced that Sri Lanka will commence the operations of the passenger ferry service between Kankesanthurai and Pondicherry on April 29th. The announcement was made following a discussion on the proposed ferry service between Pondicherry in India and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka, which was held on March 24th under the patronage of Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva.
The meeting was attended by officials from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Sri Lanka Navy, as well as the owners of ferries and companies that have expressed interest in operating ferry services. During the discussion, ferry owners mentioned that they will be charging 50 US Dollars per passenger for a one-way trip, while allowing a passenger to carry baggage weighing up to 100kg. Only daytime operations will be in effect during the first stage.
Each ferry is expected to carry up to 150 passengers and will take around 4 hours to travel from Karaikal Port in Pondicherry to Kankesanthurai. The ferry service owners have emphasized that only daytime operations will be in effect during the first stage of operations.
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation has also confirmed that a passenger terminal is currently being constructed at the Kankesanthurai Port to facilitate the ferry service. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has provided a financial facility of Rs. 144 million for the total construction, which is being carried out by the Sri Lanka Navy. The terminal is expected to be completed and handed over to the SLPA by the second week of April.
Furthermore, the Minister has announced that the expansion activities of the Port of Kankesanthurai will be expedited. The Sri Lankan government has already requested 16 million US Dollars from the Indian Exim Bank, due to the credit grant facility granted by India for construction becoming insufficient at present.