Global Ports Holdings (GPH) recently announced that it has acquired the unlisted 62 percent shares in the Port of Bar (Montenegro). 

This is the first time a Turkish company acquires majority ownership of a port operation overseas, according to Saygın Narin, CEO of GPH.

GPH operates three of the leading cruise ports inTurkey, has been awarded the concession agreement for 30 years to repair, finance, operate and maintain the general freight and cargo terminal in the city of Bar, Montenegro, by the Montenegro Ministry of Transport & Maritime Affairs and the Montenegro Port Authority.

GPH bought the 62 percent for a about 30 million euro. The acquisition is the first investment of GPH abroad as well as being the first ever Turkish acquisition of a controlling stake in an overseas port operation.

In a prepared statement, Narin said that the shipping industry has entered a new era with the addition of the Port of Bar in the GPH portfolio. He added that GPH, having focused on organic growth and consolidation of its existing ports for the past three years, was now ready to become one of the leading commercial port operators regionally and the number one cruise operator globally with a total annual passenger traffic of 3.5 million.

Narin said: “We have been targeting organic growth till now, while revamping efficiencies, systems and marketing processes in our Turkish ports.  Having also successfully integrated our three ports, we are currently focusing on outside expansion. We aim to add new ports, domestic and international into our portfolio. Thus, we acquired 62 percen of the Port of Bar and more acquisitions are on the way.”

Narin underlined that the Port of Bar has a throughput of 35,000 to 40,000 containers in an area of 400,000 to 450,000 square meters and should be able to expand up to 1 million containers as a result of some infrastructure development.

Narin continued: “We aim to direct the Serbian traffic back to the port to increase its utilization.  There is a railway to the port which is not very active; we will utilize this railway more actively.  Also, the Port of Bar will be able to serve the adjacent European countries. Of course, I should add that some portion of the truck traffic from Turkey to Europe and from Europe to Turkey will shift to the Bar Port.  Additionally, the Port has very large warehouses; we aim to build a logistics center around these.

“Finally,” he said, “the port has a potential to become a new call for cruise ships.  Therefore, we plan to build a new cruise pier in Bar.  We will contribute to the economy of the country with the cruise pier as well.”