V.Group and Inchcape consolidate marine travel and port agency arms

Per Bjornsen, director, V.Ships Leisure (right) and Tim Davey, md of the combined Marine Travel operations at V.Group Per Bjornsen, director, V.Ships Leisure (right) and Tim Davey, md of the combined Marine Travel operations at V.Group

V.Group has acquired Global Marine Travel (ISS GMT) from Inchcape Shipping Services. The move combines GMT’s marine travel expertise with V.Group’s own travel management service V.Travel, and merges operations for both businesses.

At the same time, V.Group will divest its V.Ships Agency business to Inchcape, entering into a service agreement that establishes a partnership with a global player in port agency to provide a better ship agency platform.

‘Bringing together GMT and V.Travel increases our ability to offer truly global, 24/7 travel operations focused on delivering customer satisfaction,’ remarks Per Bjornsen, director, V.Ships Leisure.

Expanding travel portfolio

‘The addition of GMT to our travel portfolio doubles ticketing volumes, strengthens the management team and will enable the creation of a combined operational hub in the Philippines,’ said Bjornsen.

It also bolsters existing travel operations with two additional International Air Transport Association licences. Both businesses will eventually operate under the GMT brand.

‘The combined resources of V.Group, V.Travel, and GMT will create a market-leading platform for managing and simplifying the seafarer journey from home to ship and back. This will complement ‘Project Embark’ – an initiative we launched last year which invests in the development of digital technologies that will streamline and enhance the overall seafarer experience, commented Bjornsen.

Tim Davey, md of the combined Marine Travel operations at V.Group said, ‘we are excited to be onboard with V.Group. GMT has a wealth of experience and expertise in handling cruise line passenger travel and has a full air/sea department which currently services several small cruise lines and multiple cruise line consolidators with travel services.’

Keeping pace with growing demand

‘The additional scale and flexibility afforded to us by this partnership will help us further streamline our travel operations and deliver the rapid, simple travel services the cruise industry needs, and keep pace with growing demand,’ he added.

Last year, V.Group outlined a strategy of focusing on developing its six key services lines, with inorganic growth playing a key part in the process.

‘This acquisition signifies our commitment to building on V.Group’s position in the cruise sector, for both management and marine services, and the extent to which inorganic growth furthers our strategic aim to transform the marine industry,’ said the V.Ships Leisure executive.

Posted 13 February 2019

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Mary Bond

Publisher/Editor in Chief Seatrade Cruise News & Seatrade Cruise Review