Ferry Network, Payment System, Giant Dredger

Thursday, July 13

The Raajje Transport Link (RTL) ferry service was launched in Huvadhu Atoll (Gaaf Alif and Gaaf Dhaal) with six speedboats on nine routes. The service was offered free of charge for a one-week trial period.

Establishing a nationwide ferry network with purpose-built speedboats is a flagship policy of the current administration. The three northernmost atolls were covered under the first phase of an MVR800 million (US$51.8 million) project in September last year.

Atolls are grouped into six zones with routes designed for a commuter link to connect nearby islands, a non-commuter link for longer trips to domestic airports and business hubs, and a highway link to connect regional hubs.

According to RTL, “each vessel has 48 reclinable airline style seats, designated seating for wheelchair passengers, and securable mechanism for medical stretchers”. Customers can book and pay for tickets on the RTL website or app. 

Thursday, July 13

State-owned enterprises earned a combined profit of MVR5.6 billion (US$363 million) in 2022, down from MVR6.1 billion in the previous year, according to the 2022 fourth quarter review published by the Privatisation and Corporatisation Board.

About half of the 30 SOEs are profitable with the rest reliant on government subsidies. Some MVR760 million was earmarked for SOEs in the 2023 budget.

The eTukuri online shopping platform of the Maldives Post launched its mobile application.

The eTukuri service allows registered users to order from international sellers such as Amazon or Apple in America.

The Maldives Ports Limited unveiled its new logo after the state-owned company was rebranded for the first time in 36 years.

The new logo, colour and uniform were launched at the annual MPL staff night function, which was held at the Henveiru stadium in Malé. The brand image was renewed after 27 years.

Wednesday, July 12

Capital Marine and Civil Construction was contracted for land reclamation to develop airports on three islands. An agreement was signed for US$42 million with work to be completed within 280 days.

“Under this project, 44.70 hectares of land will be reclaimed in B.Thulhaadhoo, 56.34 hectares of land will be reclaimed in Th.Vilufushi and 56.34 hectares of land will be reclaimed in Sh.Bilehfahi,” the planning and infrastructure ministry said.

Wednesday, July 12

The Addu City Council made an announcement seeking interested parties for the “development and operation of a Cruise Terminal and Yacht Marina in Addu City Feydhoo.”

The project also involves a tourist hotel with a minimum of 100 rooms.

Monday, July 10

The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company leased a giant dredger to expedite land reclamation projects across the country.

The Jan De Nul’s trailing suction hopper dredger Filippo Brunelleschi arrived in Uligan in the northernmost atoll from Belgium on Monday night. Dredging started in Haa Alif Ihavandhoo the next day. “Reclamation projects in nine islands can be completed before October,” MTCC CEO Adam Azim told the media.

With length of 142.5 metres and width of 27.5 metres, the vessel has a simultaneous loading capacity of 11,300 cubic metres.

Monday, July 10

The Maldives Monetary Authority signed participation agreements with three banks to test out the the ‘Instant Payment System’ ahead of an official launch in August.

The Bank of Maldives, Maldives Islamic Bank and the State Bank of India were enlisted for the “system pilot testing phase,” MMA Governor Ali Hashim said at the signing ceremony.

The first phase of the project focuses on domestic transactions but connections to the national payment systems of other countries under the second phase will allow the use of online payment systems such as Paypal for the first time, according to the central bank.

In the the first hotel sale in the Maldives for 2023, the Amari Havodda resort was sold to Minor International and its financial partner Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.  

Real estate and investment management firm JLL advised Crystal Plaza Resorts on the sale.

“The long-term confidence in the Maldives hotels space has again been reinforced through this groundbreaking transaction, which was successfully completed amidst a backdrop of ongoing macroeconomic headwinds and rising rates. Investor interest in this unique asset was exceptional, demonstrating that a broad cross-section of capital from Asia Pacific to the Middle East will continue to seek opportunities in one of the world’s most attractive hospitality markets,” said JLL Asia Pacific CEO Nihat Ercan. 

Minor International, a Thailand-based conglomerate, operates six resort properties in the Maldives. The Amari Havodda – located in the southern Gaaf Dhaal Atoll with 120 villas – will be rebranded as an NH collection hotel.