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Aitken Spence Maritime and Aitken Spence Travels boost tourism through Marella cruises

31 Dec

Boosting the revival of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence Maritime facilitated Marella cruises sailing their largest super-luxury cruise ship, Marella Discovery of the Marella fleet, to the Port of Colombo.

Marella Discovery commenced its voyage from the Persian Gulf and cruised past Cochin to reach Colombo and continued to cruise towards South-East destinations after visiting Sri Lanka. Marella is the third-largest cruise line in the United Kingdom, with a fleet of six ships. Marella cruises is a division of TUI U.K. and Ireland; TUI Group is the world’s leading integrated tourism group operating in more than 100 destinations worldwide.

Marella Cruise line offers holidays around Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asian destinations. Marella Discovery is approximately 264 meters in length and 32 meters wide having 902 state rooms with a capacity for up to 2,074 passengers. The ship boasts many features such as an outdoor cinema, a rock-climbing wall, a mini-golf course, five-storey atrium and an indoor pool. Marella Cruises trademarks include a fantastic dining scene, a show lounge to rival the West End, and smart, contemporary interiors and a range of onboard activities enabling a wonderful experience for passengers on board.

Aitken Spence Travels was the shore excursion partner in Sri Lanka. The company offered excursions for over 800 passengers covering many locations close to Colombo, low grown tea estates, historical sites, Madhu ganga river safaris and tours across the city of Galle. The excursions are designed to create memories in Sri Lanka through experiences with culture, cuisine, architecture, heritage and way of life. Aitken Spence Travels is the leading Destination Management Company (DMC) handling majority of the shore excursions of cruise ships that call over to Sri Lanka. The company is a joint venture between Aitken Spence PLC, a leading blue-chip conglomerate, and TUI.

Aitken Spence Maritime is a pioneer in the industry and was the first Sri Lankan company to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African continent and subsequently the South Pacific. The company handles all maritime services – from shipping and cargo handling services, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Aitken Spence Maritime promotes a high season for cruises with AIDAvita and AIDAbella

3 Dec

AIDA cruises luxurious vessel ‘AIDAvita’ at the Colombo Harbour

 

AIDA cruises luxurious vessel ‘AIDAbella’ at the Colombo Harbour

Continuing the momentum in the cruise ship season, Aitken Spence Maritime ushered in two super luxury AIDA cruise vessels AIDAvita and AIDAbella on the 10th and 14th November 2019. Over 1,100 passengers visited Sri Lanka and joined excursions to enjoy the Colombo city and other locations outside Colombo, such as Bentota, Beruwala, Akuressa, and Galle exploring the beaches, tea estates and places of historical importance.

The cruises commenced their voyage from India and Maldives to the Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka and thereafter headed towards Port Kelang, Malaysia. These luxurious cruise ships are equipped with 1,000 cabins and suits; each ship with capacity to accommodate 2,500 passengers.

AIDA cruises offers cruise holidays around Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asian destinations. Hosting the finest combination of cruising, wellness holiday, city tours, breath-taking entertainment and experiencing nature whilst being one of the most modern and eco-friendly fleets in the world.

“As the local agents, Aitken Spence Maritime facilitated all aspects with the local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that all passengers and crew members onboard had a positive experience of Sri Lanka, taking back fond memories of our island,” said Mr. Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of the Aitken Spence Maritime sector.

Aitken Spence Maritime is a pioneer in the industry and was the first Sri Lankan company to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African Continent and subsequently the South Pacific. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from shipping and cargo handling services, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Aitken Spence Maritime ushers in the first cruise ship for the season – ‘Costa Victoria’

7 Nov

Aitken Spence Maritime launched the passenger cruise season with Italy’s biggest tour operator Costa Cruises. The luxurious passenger vessel ‘Costa Victoria’ called Colombo Port on the 05th of November 2019 carrying 1,739 passengers and 790 crew members on board.

Costa Cruises offers cruise holidays to Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asian destinations. Costa Victoria is adorned with a stunning combination of Italian and Swedish design, with a capacity to accommodate 2,394 passengers in 918 cabins and suits. During this season, Costa Cruises offers cruise packages to West India, Maldives and Colombo on a fortnightly basis for those seeking to join the voyage from any port of call.

As the local agents, Aitken Spence Maritime persuaded Costa Cruises to continue cruise calls to Colombo, considering all precautions taken by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Navy and the Police ensuring the safety and security of all passengers.

The Costa Cruises will have 6 vessels between November and December 2019 to the Port of Colombo. This operation will act as a key influencer for tourism, paving the way for other cruise operators to call at Sri Lankan Ports.

There are over 700 passengers engaging in excursions to enjoy the city and immediate locations of Sri Lanka such as the Colombo heritage walk, exploring the city of Galle, Kandy and key places of historical interests.

“We are delighted to begin the passenger cruise season by facilitating the first vessel Costa Victoria. Aitken Spence Maritime has been aggressively promoting cruise calls to Colombo and are expecting several cruise operators in the following weeks. It is also inspiring for the team to see their efforts materialise. Aitken Spence Maritime will continue to offer comprehensive, synergised services to cruise operators that in turn will boost tourism in the country,” said Mr. Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of the Aitken Spence Maritime sector.

Aitken Spence Maritime is a pioneer in the industry and was the first Sri Lankan company to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African Continent and subsequently the South Pacific. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from shipping and cargo handling services, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Aitken Spence Maritime facilitates the first cruise ship to call on Sri Lankan ports following the April aftermath

6 Jun

The luxury cruise ship “MS EUROPA 2”, owned by German operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten Hamburg, recently called on the Ports of Hambantota and Colombo with 309 passengers and 356 crew onboard. Aitken Spence Maritime is the agent in Sri Lanka for Hapag-Lloyd which is one of the largest container shipping lines in the world.  MS Europa and MS Europa 2 are the only cruise ships in the world classified with 5-star rating by the legendary Berlitz Cruise Guide. MS Europa 2 is regarded as the new jewel of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet.

“We are extremely delighted that Aitken Spence Maritime facilitated the first cruise ship to call on two Ports of Sri Lanka after the unfortunate incidents that took place in April 2019. It is also encouraging for the team to see their efforts materialise and with the Group’s active involvement in the leisure industry, the company will continue to offer comprehensive synergised services to cruise operators,” said Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Maritime.

“Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten having made frequent calls to Trincomalee, Hambantota, Galle and Colombo will also include their ships in its schedule for 2019/20. In fact, Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten has selected Sri Lankan Ports as the beginning and end of their voyages, enabling passengers to embark and disembark in Sri Lanka,” said Lalith Witanachchi, Assistant Vice President of Hapag-Lloyd Lanka.

Hapag-Lloyd’s local agent, Aitken Spence Maritime, is a pioneer in the industry and was the first in Sri Lanka to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African Continent and subsequently the South Pacific Islands. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from ship agents and cargo handlers, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Marella Discovery makes her maiden call to Colombo

27 Dec



Super luxury passenger vessel M.V. Marella Discovery of Marella Cruises with 1,732 passengers and 764 crew on board made her maiden call at the Port of Colombo in December 2018.

In order to mark the maiden call of the vessel at the Port of Colombo plaque exchanges were held between the Master of the vessel, SLPA, local agents – Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd and travel operator – Aitken Spence Travels Ltd.

On behalf of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Capt. Athula Hewavitharana – Managing Director exchanged plaques with the Master of Marella Discovery – Capt. Christopher N. Dodds. Mr. Iqram Cuttilan – Managing Director of Aitken Spence Shipping and Mr. Nalin Jayasundera – Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels exchanged plaques with the Master on behalf of the Aitken Spence Group subsidiaries.

Expressing views at the occasion, the Managing Director of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) – Capt. Athula Hewavitharana said that the Port of Colombo was honoured by the presence of Marella Discovery in Colombo.

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) is a British cruise line offering cruise holidays around Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. Marella Discovery is approximately 264 meters in length and 32 meters wide having 902 state rooms with a capacity to accommodate up to 2,074 passengers. The excursions organised by Aitken Spence Travels had over 1,000 passengers joining in to enjoy the city and immediate locations of Sri Lanka such as the Colombo heritage walk, exploring the city of Galle and Sri Lankan river safari.

Marella Discovery commenced its voyage from Europe calling at Italy, Crete and moving onto Egypt, Jordan, Oman, U.A.E. and several ports in India on her way to Sri Lanka and will thereafter cruise towards Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The vessel that cruised under the flag of Malta called Colombo from Cochin, India and Sabang, Indonesia is her next port of call.

Established in 1868, Aitken Spence PLC marks its 150th anniversary. The Company has grown to great heights, especially with the diversification of the company in 2004 into non-traditional areas. The Company’s involvement in port efficiency enhancement projects in new markets has helped to successfully pursue a long-term directional shift from being service-related to becoming an investment-driven operation.

Fiji Ports Terminal wins Fiji Business Excellence Award for 2018

20 Dec


Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd. is the proud winner of Fiji Business Excellence Awards this year which was given away at a gala ceremony held at Sheraton Fiji resort in Denarau Fiji, last month by the President of the Republic of Fiji Islands Maj. Gen. (Retd) Jioji Konusi Konrote in the presence of a host of high ranking government officials and business leaders.

Aitken Spence PLC has a 51% shareholding in Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd. which was acquired under a public private partnership venture with Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd. of Fiji Islands. Aitken Spence PLC entered into the first ever public private partnership abroad by a Sri Lankan company when it acquired a controlling shareholding in Fiji Ports Terminals Ltd (FPTL) in 2013 and signed a 15-year concession agreement to manage Suva and Lautoka international ports in Fiji. Aitken Spence Ports International Ltd. provides the management expertise to FPTL.

Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd. CEO Hasthika Bandara Dela received the award on behalf of FPTL. He stated that this was a team effort amongst all members of the staff which was the key to FPTL being very progressive and achieving this award. He thanked the members of the staff of FPTL as well as the Board of Directors for their valuable contribution. He also stated that FPTL had been working hard over the last five years to put together processes and systems to ensure that higher efficiency and productivity levels were achieved while drastically improving the turnaround times of the vessels. This has resulted in more vessel calls, with higher export and import volumes assisting the economy of Fiji.

The President’s Business Excellence Award, is the highest award which is only awarded to organisations that have attained excellent organisational performance levels and are demonstrably world class organisations.

Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd is a pioneer in the industry as it provides import and export container handling services to some of the leading container carriers in the world, handling transhipment cargo, and the servicing of passenger cruise vessels, car carriers and casual callers. The port management segment operates and manages two main ports in Fiji whilst the port management segment manages cargo operations and equipment in the port of Nacala in Mozambique.

Established in 1868, Aitken Spence PLC marks its 150th anniversary. The Company has grown to great heights, especially with the diversification of the company in 2004 into non-traditional areas. The Company’s involvement in port efficiency enhancement projects in new markets has helped to successfully pursue a long-term directional shift from being service-related to becoming an investment-driven operation.

Hapag-Lloyd Lanka Walks Away with Best Customer Service Award at 22nd ICS Awards

27 Feb
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Mr. Russell Diaz, Assistant General Manager – Hapag Lloyd Lanka receiving the award

Hapag-Lloyd Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC and the local representation of German operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten was awarded the “Best Customer Service” laurel for the Europe sector at the recently concluded awards ceremony organized by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers – UK (Sri Lanka branch). The win comes following a similar achievement at the previous year’s ceremony, where Hapag-Lloyd Lanka won the award for the US sector.

The ceremony which was held in Colombo on the 19th of February marked the 22nd installment of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) awards. The ICS founded in London back in 1911, received the Royal Charter in 1921 and is a body fundamentally dedicated towards the promotion of professionalism in the international maritime industry through shipping education and training.

Fourteen shipping lines vied for the awards and Hapag-Lloyd Lanka walked away with one of the most lucrative awards. On behalf of Hapag-Lloyd Lanka, Russell Diaz, Assistant General Manager – Hapag-Lloyd Lanka received the award from Chief Guest – Hon. Karu Jayasuria, Speaker of Parliament. The ceremony was graced by many dignitaries including Hon. Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Ports and Shipping alongside Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, Minister of Public Enterprises and Development.

Aitken Spence Facilitates Cruise Ship Call on All Four Ports in Sri Lanka

30 Jan

csm_EUROPA2_f1-EUROPA_2_Aussenmotiv_81efd60944

For the first time in Sri Lanka a cruise ship has made calls on the four main ports of Sri Lanka. The Luxury Cruise Ship Ms Europa 2 owned by German Operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten called on the 29th, 30th and 31st January 2016 to the Ports of Galle, Colombo, Hambantota respectively and have arrived at the Port of Trincomalee on the 1st of February 2016.

Hapag-Lloyd Lanka which is a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC is the local agent for Hapag-Lloyd, a top five global container operator. During her stay in Colombo on the 30th January 2016 at the request of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the local agent Hapag-Lloyd Lanka carried out a full passenger turnaround in Colombo on 30th January 2016 which included, embarking and disembarking a total of 740 passengers.

Ms Europa 2 is a newly designed luxury cruise ship, which is considered as one of the most spacious cruise ships on the market. Every year the Ms Europa 2 sets sail on its journey around the World to visit Ports that are unreachable by other ships due to its size.

Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten has decided to have more frequent callers to Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee and Hambantota and are scheduled to call all four Ports in Sri Lanka in 2017/18. A full passenger turnaround is once again scheduled to take place in 2017 and as well as in 2018.

On April 7th 2015 Ms Europa, the sister ship of Ms Europa 2, called the Ports of Trincomalee, Galle and Colombo.

Aitken Spence Launch Brand Fiji Ports

11 Feb

Fiji Ports

Aitken Spence-run Ports Terminal Limited which operates Fiji’s two main ports has been rebranded as Fiji Ports recently at an event attended by senior government and Aitken Spence officials.
Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who attended the launch commended the efforts by Aitken Spence PLC in honouring the partnership with the Fiji Government by improving services and operations at the two major ports in the country.
Aitken Spence entered into a public-private partnership with Fiji Ports Corporation acquiring 51 per cent of the shares in Ports Terminal Limited in 2013 to oversee the repair and operation of the ports of Suva and Lautoka.
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC J M S Brito and Chairman & CEO of Aitken Spence Maritime & Logistics Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake attended the launch.
“It has been a wonderful partnership, it has been a wonderful collaboration which has the levy that had been charged on containers coming into Fiji being lifted now which not only has financial benefits for exporters but also for importers”, said the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
“It also came as Government’s faith in Aitken Spence PLC, through the Public-Private-Partnership continues to be vindicated. Enormous achievements have been made by this management company”, he added.
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC, J M S Brito said, “We are pleased to show significant positive results to the Government of Fiji since our investment in the ports of Suva and Lautoka. We are exploring investment opportunities in hotels, power generation, printing and other sectors where we have decades-long experience and expertise”.
Aitken Spence Maritime & Logistics Chairman & CEO and Director of Aitken Spence PLC Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake speaking at the launch reiterated company’s commitment to stakeholders present at the event.
“When you have the right product, we can launch a marketing campaign to boost volumes thereby attracting new shipping lines. And when you have more shipping lines, you will have more capacity and when you have more capacity, the freight rates are bound to go low. This would boost exports and imports and generate more employment and enable Fiji to become the hub of the South Pacific”, said Dr. Dissanayake.
“In Sri Lanka, we say port is the heart of the nation. And when you have an efficient port blessed with the right location like Fiji’s, you would establish not only a maritime hub but also aviation and a logistics hub”, he added.
Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s most dynamic and respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the South Pacific. Listed in the CSE since 1983, it has major interests in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics and power generation. The group also has a significant presence in plantations, printing, garments, financial services, insurance and information technology.

Aitken Spence Enhances Efficiency at Fiji Ports

13 Nov

Port_image

Since taking over management control of the International Fijian ports of Suva and Lautoka in July last year Aitken Spence has increased ship crane productivity by 70 per cent.

Aitken Spence has also reduced berthing delays from between 12 to 18 hrs to 0.50 hrs on average while equipment downtime has been reduced by 60 per cent.

The substantial efficiency improvements were highlighted by Chairman/CEO of Aitken Spence Maritime, Logistics & Cargo and Director of Aitken Spence PLC, Dr Parakrama Dissanayake, in his address at the 39th Pacific Maritime Transport Alliance Conference held in the island country of Niue from 28th – 31st October 2014. The conference themed “Our Pacific shores, the waves of possibilities’ was attended by 26 countries in the South Pacific including Australia and New Zealand.

Marking the first ever public-private partnership by a Sri Lankan company, Aitken Spence entered into a public-private partnership with Fiji Ports Corporation acquiring 51 per cent of the shares in Ports Terminal Limited in 2013 to oversee the repair and operation of the ports of Suva and Lautoka.

Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s most dynamic and respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the South Pacific. Listed in the CSE since 1983, it has major interests in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistic solutions and power generation. The group also has a significant presence in plantations, printing,garments, financial services, insurance and information technology.

“We are confident the private-public partnership would result in the establishment of Fiji as the gateway to the Pacific” said Dr. Dissanayake.

“We will bring in the global best practices in human resources and the processes in the system and also in the sphere of having the right machinery to having the right level of productivity,” he added.

The Pacific Maritime Transport Alliance Conference emphasized the importance of safety and security of all ships navigating the vast Pacific Ocean for maritime transportation and trade within the region.

The conference provided an opportunity for port members from the Pacific Island countries and territories to share ideas, enhance understanding and promote co-operative approaches to the achievement of conference.

The conference noted that in order to improve safety and security, ports and infrastructure providers need to embrace a business outlook,with operation and service strategies that adhere to legislation and encourage improved performance.