Aitken Spence PLC takes over the management of two major ports in Fiji
Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC has taken over the management of two major ports in Fiji, a media release issued by the Fiji government revealed.
The move is aimed at bringing about efficiency and productivity in both the Suva and Lautoka ports in Fiji.
A Private Public Partnership agreement signed on Tuesday allows Aitken Spence to purchase 51 per cent shares, worth US $10.53 million of Ports Terminal Limited, a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd.
Seen here Mr. Parakrama Dissanayake (right) signing the agreement.
The removal of special levies charged by international shipping firms on voyages to Fiji is an immediate challenge Aitken Spence will be taking on.
The levies were imposed because of constant port delays, the media release said.
It quoted Aitken Spence PLC Director, Parakrama Dissanayake as saying that the company will be bringing world class global best practices into the ports sector of Fiji which will increase the efficiency and the productivity of the ports.
“By doing that we can boost traffic and we hope that the surcharge that’s been applied on exports and imports will gradually move away. This will boost economic activity in Fiji as well,” he said.
“We will also be helping the government in establishing Fiji as the maritime hub of the South Pacific,” he added.
According to Mr Dissanayake only three to four people with port management skills will be brought to Fiji from Sri Lanka. Others will come in as trainers.
“So that’s the focus, training, development and creation of employment in the ports sector for the Fijians. Training is a very critical element, in fact Aitken Spence has the largest maritime campus in South Asia,” he revealed.
Fiji Ports Corporation Limited Chief Executive Officer Vajira Piyasena said the new partnership will allow FPCL to concentrate on other infrastructure development.Speaking at the signing, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said “In the modern global economy, staying competitive is essential and especially for smaller economies like Fiji.”For Aitken Spence, the partnership is just the beginning and they are already looking at investment opportunities in Fiji’s tourism sector. This is an area the company has extensive interests in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the company said.
The company has been involved in handling cargo and other maritime services for more than hundred years.