The Maldives State Shipping (MSS) has acquired a container carrier to start transshipment service to Hithadhoo Regional Port in Addu Atoll.

The agreement for the acquisition of the ship named ‘MSS Opal’ was signed at a ceremony held at Meerumaa Events Conference Facility on Thursday afternoon. MSS Opal, which is the fifth ship to be acquired by the state-owned company, will be used to transport goods from various international ports to Hithadhoo Regional Port via Male’ Commercial Harbour, according to the MSS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Trading Organisation (STO). The vessel will also facilitate the transportation of containerised cargo from Male’ to Hithadhoo Regional Port.

The ship has a capacity of 105 containers and spans 67 metres in length with a draft of 3.2 metres. It is a 1553-tonne deadweight vessel equipped with a crane.

Mohamed Nazim, the Managing Director of MSS, stated that the company initiated the service due to the unavailability of transshipment services and to address the substantial costs associated with transporting goods to the southern region. He said the acquisition of MSS Opal would ease the challenges faced in ferrying essential food items to the southern atolls during the monsoon season. Nazim further highlighted the transshipment service’s potential to create employment opportunities in Addu Atoll and facilitate decentralisation efforts. He also revealed the company’s plans to expand transshipment services to different parts of the country.

The service is slated to commence in the first week of next month. Once the ship is brought to the Maldives and administrative formalities are completed, it will be available for booking to transport goods from any location worldwide to Hithadhoo Regional Port. Operating on the Male’-Hithadoo-Kooddoo-Male’ route, MSS Opal will sail to Addu Atoll every ten days.