After a gap of five months, ferry service between Tuticorin and Colombo will resume on April 19, A. Subbiah, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, Tuticorin, has said here on Sunday.

Flemingo Liners, the vessel operator, is likely to charter a 450-seat vessel this time. Previously, Scotia Prince, a nine-deck vessel with a seating capacity of 1,044 was operating twice a week between these two ports. Owing to some technical reasons, the service was suspended in November. The last sailing was from Tuicorin on November 18.

The inaugural ferry service was flagged off by Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan on June 13, 2011. As many as 12, 202 passengers had used the ferry service. License income of Rs. 7.8 crore and passenger fare of Rs.1.8 crore were generated from the ferry service, Mr. Subbiah said.

Earlier, sweets were distributed to officers and the workers of the VOC Port for having achieved better results in cargo handling and container traffic. During 2011-12, 281 lakh tonnes of cargo had been handled at the port. A 10 per cent increase in handling of cargo was recorded this financial year. As for container traffic, 4.77 lakh TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) were handled, a two percent increase from the previous fiscal.

The port had a capacity of 20.55 million tonnes in the last five year plan period. It had doubled to 43. 04 million tonnes in the recently concluded 11th five year plan.

In 2012-13, the eighth berth would be dedicated at the container terminal, besides the North Cargo Berth-III and IV exclusively for handling coal, shallow draft berth for handling cement and construction materials and for handling barges. Work on North Cargo Berth-I for NLC power project was in progress for handling coal.

Since dredging work for 12.8 meter-draft was completed in November, Panamax (large) vessels had also started berthing here. Over the past three months, 40 Panamax vessels were received at the port, Mr. Subbbiah added.