Kochi-based Trans Asian Shipping Service will introduce a fortnightly coastal shipping service linking Dharamtar Port in Maharashtra and the ports in Kerala.

The company will deploy MV Karuthal, a 1600-tonne ship with a capacity to carry 94 containers, which was hitherto operating on the Jebel Ali-Doha sector as a foreign flag vessel.

The Indian Minor Port Service will be the ship’s maiden trip after it was converted into the Indian flag, a regulatory requirement for ships to ply on local routes in India carrying cargo under Cabotage Law.

According to Johnson Mathew, Chairman and Managing Director of Trans Asian Shipping Services, the vessel would carry tiles, steel coils and general cargo from Dharamtar to Kerala and on the return journey, the shipping company is looking to carry cargo such as tyres, latex and coir products.

Initially, the service will be fortnightly with duration of 12-13 days for a round trip, but the company hopes to convert it into a weekly service depending on the demand and requirements of the trade/end users, Mathew said. The Mumbai-Kochi sector is a market predominantly controlled by truckers. With BS-IV emission norms coming into force, there is an increase of around ₹5,000 in truck rentals on the Mumbai-Kochi route, he added.

The ship has a draft of 3.2 metres making it ideal to run between India’s minor ports, which has low depth, he said.