Kerala Maritime Board in talks with shipping firms for West Asia services

Kerala Maritime Board is in discussions with shipping companies for services to West Asia
KMB chairman NS Pillai discussed positive meetings with shipping providers to cater to the long-standing demand for Gulf state services, with government support. The proposal, named "Gateway to Blissful Voyages," seeks expertise in passenger ship operations to connect West Asia/GCC to Kerala through port infrastructure, offering cost-effective options to the expatriate community.
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The Kerala Maritime Board (KMB) has had positive discussions with shipping service providers regarding the introduction of regular services to the Gulf states, a project they have named “Gateway to Blissful Voyages.” The meeting was aimed at addressing concerns and questions from companies interested in the project, with the government extending support to shipping companies to launch services soon due to the long-standing demand from the expatriate community.

The KMB is seeking expressions of interest (EoI) from competent firms with expertise in operating passenger ships or vessels connecting West Asia/GCC to Kerala using port infrastructure in the state. The Kochi port has the necessary facilities for large ships, and discussions are ongoing with the port authority, which falls under the shipping ministry, as well as other potential ports like Beypore under the state government. The sea route between West Asia and Kerala has historically been an important pathway for passenger transport.

The substantial Indian diaspora in West Asia, particularly the GCC region, and the significant expatriate community from Kerala have led to a high demand for travel between the regions. This has resulted in increased flight prices, reaching up to ₹50,000 at times. By providing a cost-effective and convenient transportation option, KMB aims to meet the travel needs of non-resident Keralites, promote economic growth, cultural exchange, and tourism development, and gain a competitive advantage in peak travel seasons.

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