Sri Lanka – India passenger ferry service resumed after 40 years

Nearly four decades after India and Sri Lanka stopped a passenger ferry service, a high-speed passenger ferry service was launched on Saturday (14 Oct.),  once again connecting the two neighbouring countries.

Accordingly, the Cheriyapani ferry service links Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu with Kankesanthurai in the northern province of Sri Lanka.

At 08:15 a.m. on Saturday, Cheriyapani departed Nagapattinam port towards Kankesanthurai with 50 passengers and 12 crew members under Captain Biju George.
The ferry reached Kankesanthurai at 12:30 p.m. this afternoon, and headed back to Nagapattinam at 02:00 p.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed gratitude after the passenger ferry service was resumed. In a video address, he said, “We are embarking on a new chapter in the diplomatic and economic relations between India and Sri Lanka. The launch of a ferry service between Nagapattinam and Kankesanturai is an important milestone in strengthening our relations.”

The ferry service initially planned to commence on 10 October, underwent some administrative issues and had to be rescheduled for 12 October and later 14 October.

The project, under the India-Sri Lanka Joint Committee, is aimed at revitalising regional trade and tourism and fostering stronger people-to-people relations. The initiative renews historical sea ties that existed between the two countries since the early 1900s.

Decades ago, the Indo-Ceylon Express that operated between the port city of Thoothukudi and Colombo through Chennai stopped operating after the Sri Lankan civil war in 1982.

 The reintroduction of ferry services comes two years after the two countries signed a passenger transportation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).