Kerala plans passenger shipping to Gulf to cut exorbitant air tariffs

The Kerala government is planning to launch a passenger ship service between the southern coast and the Gulf states to provide affordable travel for Malay expatriates in the Middle East who have to pay exorbitant air fares to get home.

At a high-level meeting held here on Wednesday, a decision was made to draw up a plan to launch passenger ship service between Kerala and the Gulf, state ports minister Ahammad Devarkovil said.

The minister said airlines are charging ordinary expats exorbitant amounts of money for their trips during the holidays.

The meeting was attended by NS Pillai, CEO of Kerala Maritime Board, Salim Kumar, CEO of NORKA, Ajith Kolassery, MDC President CE Chakunni, Officers MK Ayyappan, Zubair and others.

They are being forced to set aside the lion’s share of their meager savings for travel, Devarkovil said.

The minister said the project was planned at the high-level meeting organized by the Malabar Development Council and the Kerala Maritime Board.

The government is planning to launch the ship service in cooperation with the Department of Non Resident Keralites’ Affairs (NORKA), the official body of the Kerala ethnicity diaspora, Devarkovil said.

In a Facebook post, the minister said the LDF government had set aside ₹15 crore in this year’s budget to help solve expatriate travel problems.

The idea is to start the ship service with this amount as well, he said.

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