Digitalising Marine Transportation in Maldives – Odiapp
In the island nation of Maldives, an astounding 99 per cent is water and only one per cent is land, which are islands scattered across 26 atolls. This unique geographical feature makes marine transportation the main source of travel between the islands since the ancient times. Even after the introduction and progress of air transportation, marine vessels have played a major role for both domestic and international travellers.
This being the case, there was a need for a unified marine transport solution that will benefit both travellers and locals.
Back in 2019, entrepreneur Ali Nafi identified this requirement and got the idea of harmonising the sea transport sector while on a trip abroad. Upon his return, he shared the idea with three other passionate locals and the quartet started working on a framework. During the pandemic in 2020, they began development while on self-quarantine on an island. This was how Odiapp was founded, on a mission to transform sea transport in Maldives by Ali Nafi, Siyah Khaleel, Ali Haneen and Mathiu Ibrahim.
“In order for us to understand the market in-depth we travelled to various islands and spent time with the vessel operators and other stakeholders on their thoughts as well,” explained Siyah Khaleel, co-founder, Odiapp. “Fast forward to today, we have over twenty-one vessels on-board with us. There are still a lot of things to do and as per our five-year strategic plan, we are moving forward with a vision and hope.”
Odiapp is a booking platform for travellers, through which they can book speedboat tickets instantly in just a few steps. Travellers can either hop on to a scheduled vessel or they can hire an entire vessel just for themselves anywhere in the Maldives. The destinations for scheduled vessels currently include Rasdhoo, Ukulhas, Mathiveri, Omadhoo, Hangnaameedhoo, Mahibadhoo, Dhangethi, Dhigurah, Kunburudhoo, Felidhoo, Fulidhoo, Thinadhoo, Keyodhoo and Dhiffushi.
Local marine vessel operators can easily register for the app and become a partner. As part of the benefits, Odi Assistance will manage their fleet, provide customised routes and access to reports and key performance indicators.
The founders made sure to build a business that is very much focused on sustainability and the impact of it on the environment. In four months, they have issued over 30,000 e-tickets through Odiapp and the platform provided for operators. With the introduction of homestay tourism to the Maldives this year, their vision is to be the frontrunner in providing hassle-free transportation in the destination.
“Although we are a tech-savvy nation, we still believe a major part for us to successfully deploy depends on how well we educate and market our Platform as a service to the locals as well as guests,” said Siyah.