India-Sri Lanka ferry service restarted after 40 yrs

India-Sri Lanka ferry service restarted after 40 yrs


  • An age-old sea route between India and Sri Lanka has been rejuvenated with the inauguration of a passenger ferry service from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka.
  • The initiative is aimed at bolstering bilateral ties, boosting tourism, and increasing people-to-people relations.
  • It is expected to benefit local traders on both shores.

The new service:

  • The ferry service was launched on Saturday.
  • The name of the vessel, a High Speed Craft, is ‘Cheriyapani’.
  • A one-way ticket costs approximately Rs 7,670, with a baggage allowance of up to 40 kg per passenger.
  • The journey starts from Nagapattinam at 7 am, reaching Kankesanthurai by 11 am, and the return trip begins at 1.30 pm, arriving in Nagapattinam by 5.30 pm.

The previous route:

  • Maritime linkage between India and Sri Lanka isn’t new.
  • The Indo-Ceylon Express or Boat Mail ran between Chennai and Colombo via the Thoothukudi port from the early 1900s up until 1982.
  • However, the civil war in Sri Lanka resulted in the halting of these services.
  • Before the civil war erupted, one of the most popular routes was from Dhanushkodi to Talaimannar.
  • Passengers from Chennai would get onto the Boat Mail Express, a train from Chennai’s Egmore railway station, and then transfer to a coal-powered steam ferry in Dhanushkodi, which would take them to Talaimannar in roughly two hours.

Potential impact of the new service:

  • By providing a transportation option, the ferry can amplify religious tourism in the coastal regions of both countries.
  • From India, travellers can access significant religious sites in Colombo and the southern parts of Sri Lanka.
  • Indian pilgrim centres such as Nagapattinam, Nagore, Velankanni, Thirunallar, and temple towns such as Thanjavur, Madurai, and Tiruchi are expected to see an influx of Lankan tourists.
  • Beyond religious tourism, the services would boost regional commerce and trade.

Syllabus: Prelims; International Relations