United Arab Emirates News

UAE-Kerala Passenger Ship Service: A Game-Changer for Indian Expats’ Travel

A passenger ship service connecting the UAE with the southern Indian state of Kerala is on the horizon, presenting Indian expatriates with a convenient and cost-effective travel option. Tickets for this service are expected to cost approximately Dh442, offering a three-day journey to Kerala. According to YA Rahim, President of the Indian Association Sharjah, the goal is to launch the service before the December school break, providing Indian expats in the UAE with an affordable means to travel to their hometowns. Delegates from the Kerala government are scheduled to meet with India’s central government ministers to discuss the project, with Rahim expressing confidence that the initiative will receive approval. Pending the green light, a trial run of the service could commence by November.

This endeavor marks a renewed effort to establish a passenger ship service, as previous attempts faced challenges that hindered progress. Key details about the forthcoming project include:

  1. Ticket Pricing: Ticket prices for the passenger ship service will range from Dh442 (approximately Rs10,000) to Dh663 (around Rs15,000), depending on the travel duration. During peak travel periods, ticket prices are likely to be at the higher end of this range.
  2. Travel Duration: The passenger ship will take three days to complete the journey between the UAE and India. It has the capacity to carry up to 1,250 passengers at a time and allows passengers to bring up to 200kg of luggage. The ship will also provide a wide variety of food options and onboard entertainment for travelers.
  3. Destinations: The ship is scheduled to sail to two destinations initially: Kochi and Beypore. Kochi is one of Kerala’s most popular cities and boasts one of India’s largest ports. Beypore, located in Kozhikode on the southwestern coast of India, is another key port. Additionally, plans are in progress to establish a route to Vizhinjam, where the first mega transshipment container terminal in India is set to open in December 2024.
  4. Collaborative Effort: This ambitious project is being undertaken by the Sharjah Indian Association in collaboration with Ananthapuri Shipping and Logistics Private Limited, with support from the Kerala government and NORKA (Non-Resident Keralites Affairs) – a department of the Kerala government dedicated to addressing the concerns of non-resident Keralites.

Earlier this year, Kerala’s Port Minister, Ahammad Devarkovil, criticized airline companies for capitalizing on the desire of non-resident Keralites to travel during the vacation season. He emphasized that many Malayalis had to allocate a significant portion of their earnings for travel expenses. With substantial support from prominent stakeholders, this passenger ship project is poised to become a reality and provide Indian expats in the UAE with an affordable and accessible means of travel.

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