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Aitken Spence aims to get port efficiency, productivity

August 01
10:29 2013
From left: Chairman of Aitken Spence Maritime Limited and director of Aitken Spence PLC, Parakrama Dissanayake, the Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji’s High Commissioner to India, Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprises, Elizabeth Powell, Fiji Ports Corporation Limited director, Tevita Kuruvakadua and Fiji Ports Corporation Limited chief executive, Vajira Piyasena. Aitken Spence officially took over the management of Ports Terminal  Limited yesterday. Photo: PAULINI RATULAILAI

From left: Chairman of Aitken Spence Maritime Limited and director of Aitken Spence PLC, Parakrama Dissanayake, the Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji’s High Commissioner to India, Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprises, Elizabeth Powell, Fiji Ports Corporation Limited director, Tevita Kuruvakadua and Fiji Ports Corporation Limited chief executive, Vajira Piyasena. Aitken Spence officially took over the management of Ports Terminal Limited yesterday. Photo: PAULINI RATULAILAI

By RACHNA LAL and RANOBA BAOA

Productivity and efficiency are two key things which Aitken Spence will focus on bringing to our ports here.
This was confirmed by Aitken Spence Maritime Limited chairman and Aitken Spence PLC director, Parakrama Dissanayake.
The Sri Lankan firm, which acquired 51 per cent shares in Ports Terminal Limited earlier this year through a public-private partnership, took management control of operations yesterday.
Mr Dissanayake said at the moment their plan for our ports is primarily short term which is to “put the house in order”.
“The plan now we have is an urgent plan on increasing productivity and efficiency and we will take it from there,” he said.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, indicated the chances to eventually make Fiji the Singapore of the South Pacific.
This, he said, would be possible is workers joined management and the Government to improve productivity and overall living standards.
“In the late 1960’s, Singapore used to look up to Fiji as a role model. We now look to Singapore as somewhere that is highly unachievable but we can also do it,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

No job losses
Aitken Spence will be basing four of its representatives from Sri Lanka here; the chief operations officer, the chief financial officer, a training officer and a technical officer.
Mr Dissanayake has further assured there will not be any job losses as a result of this public-private partnership.
“The intention of the Government is to create more employment, more wealth by increasing volume out of the ports in Fiji,” he said.
“And besides, we will also help the exporters and importers which will mean the trade in Fiji will increase.
“I’m confident the public-private partnership will result in the establishment of Fiji as the gateway to the South Pacific.”

Global best practices
Mr Dissanayake said: “Our focus would be productivity and to achieve this, we will bring in global best practices in human resources.
“To us, we strongly believe it’s the people who could make or break an organisation. Without the right people, it does not mean anything.
“So 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.”

Positioning Fiji as hub
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, said the partnership is an opportunity to position Fiji in the ‘practical sense’ as a truly geographical hub in the Pacific.
He said talks had always been that Fiji geographically in the centre of the Pacific but not much was done about it.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bainimarama Government is indeed putting this into practice by getting an organisation such as Aitken Spence who know a lot about the field and have the connections.
He believes the partnership with Government would also provide an opportunity for Aitken Spence to expand their presence in the region.
Making exports attractive
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum further highlighted Government is keen to have the congestion surcharges imposed by shipping companies removed.
This, he stated, was undeniably imposed because of the lack of efficiency and the lack of logistical arrangements in our ports.
“If those those surcharges are removed, it’s a positive impact, not just on the businesses, but it’s a positive impact on the ordinary consumers in Fiji, because the cost of goods then, being imported into Fiji is reduced,” he said.
“And that cost obviously by the business houses are here need to be passed on to the ordinary Fijians.”
In the same way, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji is also positioning itself as an exporting country, whether it’s with agricultural products or the growth in manufactured goods.

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