London, United Kingdom (PortSEurope) September 11, 2017 – Global Ports Holding (GPH) CEO Emre Sayin has said the IPO in London will enable the company to expand its Asian business and enter the Caribbean market, as well as investing in its current businesses.
He said that the company’s business model has been successful in Europe, and this was particularly the case in Italy, where its has majority stakes in three major cruises ports (Cagliari, Catania and Ravenna), a minority interest in Venice and another in the smaller port of Portovenere.
He adds: “Italian cruise ports have been stagnant but they have great prospects and we are working with the government and CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Italy to improve the infrastructure we have inherited at them.”
“Venice has always been difficult with so many different parties involved and because it is such a delicate city with congestion and environmental issues. All the parties, including the cruise lines, are sensitive to that and everyone, including the government, want a good solution and now, slowly, the ideas are coming together.
“There is talk of a new channel and an alternative pier for the big ships. We must consider everything and not be impatient about this and I am glad to see real progress being made with solutions on the table that can be turned into real projects.”
The Eastern Mediterranean issues are of a more geo-political nature but GPH retains faith in the region which is home to the first ports it operated (from 2004) which were in Turkey.
He says: “The proof of our confidence is clear from our decision to turn the temporary downturn in cruise traffic to our advantage by using it to invest in a multi-million-dollar redevelopment of the shopping centre at the Turkish port of Kusadasi.
“Passenger scores have always been good for the port but they will get even better when they experience the awesome new facility. I believe those companies which take opportunities to invest when things are tough will always benefit when the crisis is over. Cruise ships are still calling at our Turkish ports (which also include Bodrum and Antalya) and those cruise lines which have pulled out tell us that they want to come back as soon as possible. We take the view that this is just a temporary situation and understand that it will take time for a full turnaround.”
GPH also expects an increase in traffic to follow the opening (in October) of the new terminal at Lisbon port. “We are very excited about this terminal which is being created for the bigger ships. We have put all our experience and knowhow into it and we are already seeing increased reservations for 2018 and beyond.”
“We believe Lisbon has great potential as a homeport – and for pre- and post-cruise stays – but, equally, we recognise that it won’t become Barcelona overnight.”
Increased homeporting is, though, a trend for GPH with ports such as Valletta (Malta), Singapore and Malaga (Spain) all seeing an increase in such activity. “About 30% of Malaga’s cruise traffic is now homeporting,” he says.
Two GPH ports – Ege Port Kusadasi and Bodrum – have been awarded Green Port certification in recognition of their “environmental and corporate responsibility credentials”. Sayin says: “This was an important investment for us and, having achieved the Green Port status for two ports, we are now looking at doing the same at our other ports. We see the environmental demands facing the cruise industry less as a challenge than as a real opportunity. We are prepared to supply LNG and also shore power if required.”
“As a port operator, it is our job to embrace these things and so ease the anxiety in destinations about the potential polluting impact of visiting ships. Even though the recent research from Barcelona shows that the air pollution contribution of cruise ships is minimal, people tend to focus on what they can see and cruise ships are very visible. As someone who has worked in public relations and marketing for many years, I know that people tend to make connections in straight lines so, when they see the visible emissions from cruise ships, they identify them as much greater polluters than they really are.
“The industry has to address this in our messaging but, as well as in public relations, there is also a big job to be done by the industry to minimise emissions and – as port operators – we want to enable that as much as we can with the technology developing so quickly.”
Global Ports Holding currently operates 14 cruise ports in eight countries:
Cagliari, Catania, Ravenna and Venice in Italy; Antalya, Bodrum and Kusadasi in Turkey; Barcelona and Malaga in Spain; Lisbon in Portugal; Dubrovnik in Croatia; Bar in Montenegro; Valletta in Malta; Singapore
Source: Global Ports Holding
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