Sharing the knowledgeGlobal Ports Holding provides services for millions of passengers in many regions around the world. Sean Dudley speaks to recently appointed CEO Emre Sayin to find out more
As one of the largest cruise port operators in the world, Global Ports Holding is responsible for the day to- day functions and procedures of 10 ports in seven countries worldwide, having recently completed the acquisition of the Port of Venice in Italy.
Established in 2004 and headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, a number of Global Ports Holding’s ports are in the Mediterranean – including Barcelona Cruise Port, Valletta Cruise Port and Malaga Cruise Port. In fact, the company serves more than 20% of passengers in the Mediterranean region.
Global Ports Holding also has a presence in the Adriatic, Asia and the Atlantic, including the cruise ports at Lisbon and Singapore. Emre Sayin was recently-appointed CEO of the company in May 2016, and has enjoyed the role of CEO thus far. “It’s been very busy, very exciting, and quite challenging in the sense that I had to concentrate on a lot of different things at once,” he says. “But I have also found comfort in the fact that the teams I have acquired in all our ports are very capable. They really know how to run their operations and they each have strengths in different areas.”
Sayin believes one of his key duties is to take the positive practices across the various ports within the company, and share this knowledge throughout the business. “The first thing we try to do at Global Ports Holding is learn from each other,” he explains. “This means that we can improve our operations, and excel in running our cruise ports – be it terminal operations or be it marine services, which we do provide in some countries. In some countries we even provide shopping services, rental services, we have some shopping malls in our ports. We are also developing an operating model for our ports, and this will hopefully improve our efficiencies and synergies even further.”
Sayin says that in his new role, he is prioritizing this feeling of community and shared knowledge, and looking to extend it and implement it throughout the company. “My challenge has been working out how best to share knowledge from certain ports with others in our operations,” Sayin says. “I am therefore working directly with ports and helping them improve in areas in which they are less experienced.
It’s all about finding the synergies, improving communications, and sharing best practices.”
Sayin says that Global Ports Holding is constantly striving to provide additional services to ports so they, in turn, can provide the leading services in the industry.
However, despite having ambitious growth plans for the company, Sayin believes it would be foolish to lose sight of what has got the company to where it is today.
“It’s very fun and sexy to talk about new things, but my experience is that good companies always do the fundamentals well, and never forget about that,” he acknowledges. “Running a port efficiently and enabling the customers to use the port facilities without disruption is vital. Having efficient and timely operations so that the ships can leave port on time is again key.”
Sayin says that safety and security – though perhaps not flashy or ‘sexy’ – are as important, if not more important, than anything else the company does. “Safety and security is always at the top of our agenda,” he says. “I want to underline that because I think those that overlook the fundamentals end up with bad surprises in the end, and we are not overlooking them at all. We’re actually trying to improve our security measures over and above what is expected of us.
All of our ports are ICS compliant, but we are looking at further improving security without hindering operations or inconveniencing our passengers.”
Though getting the basics right is key to Sayin’s vision for the company, he is equally keen to expand Global Ports Holding’s footprint even further and on an increasingly global scale.
“We are looking at the Caribbean, and we are also looking at improving our footholds in the Mediterranean,” Sayin says. “In the Med there are hundreds of ports, many of which are being privatized.
I believe we could help improve their operations and, with our marketing engine, could help those cities and ports bring in new passengers, new business and essentially help the economy of the city or country in some cases.”