Today I learned a lot of new information about the shipping industry in Cyprus.
The first company we heard from was DP world at the Limassol port. I was impressed when entering their facilities, it was very expansive and included screening technology such as metal detectors. When we sat down to hear from an executive of the company, I learned that they moved into Cyprus recently when the port operations became privatized. This company made money by providing a place for ships to doc while they either dropped off cargo or passengers. Specifically, companies like Royal Carrriebran and Celebrity Cruise Line would stop in Cyprus for a day and let passengers out to explore the island for a few hours. DP World was responsible for processing all of the passengers through Cyprian customs. After the presentation from DP world, we heard from O&P, a separate company in charge of navigating ships through the coast of Cyprus so they doc safely. I learned a new vocabulary word called a tug boat which are small vessels that cruise alongside bigger ships to tell them where to go. Both DP World and O&P were mainly concerned with optimizing the efficiency of their service, meaning they could effectively help ships unload their goods and the fastest rate and lowest price.
Later went to another port, Eurogate, which was similar to DP world except that it dealt exclusively in Container freight. Container freight is all freight except Bulk freight like wood, steel, or cars. Upon arriving at the facility, I was captivated by the endless sea of containers, and the massive car-like machines which transported them. When we got inside the facility, we were approached by a friendly Cypriot who worked as a manager at the port. He asked us where we were from and what we were studying, and I asked him how he liked his job. He replied that it was good except for the fact that in July and August they frequently have to work in temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. I don’t know if I would be capable of working in weather that hot on a consistent basis.
Lastly, we visited the Cyprus port authority. The main thing I learned at this meeting was why the management of the ports became privatized. Before, when the ports were in the hands of government officials, they were often constrained by the budget that the government provided them. Additionally, this budget could change based on which political party was in power. By giving the ports over to private businesses, they were free to conduct their operations however they wanted in order to make money. Another advantage of putting the ports in private hands was that private companies tended to have new and more innovative technologies as they compete against one another. The government is happy to give the ports over to companies who can make a higher profit as they receive a large cut of the profits.