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Hellenic Shipping News interviews Mr. George Sarris, Managing Director of Atlas Int’l Shipchandling

Choosing Turkey as the market offering the most potential, Atlas International Shipchandling & Trading, is operating for 30 years in one of the most important sectors of the shipping industry, the one of ship supply. With thousands of ships transiting

through Turkey’s ports and the Turkey’s Straits, it is more than obvious that ship supply servicesΒ  are nowadays an industry. Atlas is one of the pioneers in that field, being the first company to introduce transit warehousing in the local market.

First of all, could you give us some information on your company’s profile and its activities?
Atlas International Shipchandling & Trading was founded in 1979 by its managing director George Saris and his colleagues at a time when there were very few companies in Turkey working in ship supply. Faced at the time with the challenges of operating in a not fully-established industry and continuously acting as a pioneer for developing and structuring the ship supply business in Turkey, Atlas was the first company to introduce transit warehousing to the Turkish market. As a result, it was instrumental in helping to institutionalize the Turkish ship supply industry. Today, the company is well shielded to weather the financial crisis, covering all Turkish ports.

What kind of services does the company provide?
Atlas currently boasts a 3,500 square meter warehouse in Istanbul and also cold storage plant offering a large availability of product including multiethnic provisions as well as deck andΒ  engine, cabin stores, custom clearance and spare parts logistics. We do our best for realizing completed services to our customers all the time.

Which are you main clients and markets?

We provide service to the all the major shipping companies owning or managing all type of vessel realizing transit passages in Turkish Straits or calling Turkish ports.
At the end of 30 years in this sector, pleasure to mention that we have a unique portfolio including strongest companies from all over the world.

Why did you choose to establish your business in Turkey?
Turkey is a big bridge between Asia and Europe and has a strategic importance for all kind of transportations between Asia and the other continents. By considering this point and all intense maritime transportation between Black Sea and Dardanelles, our main office and warehouse was located in the heart of Istanbul very close to the Bosporus and to the main ports due to high importance of Turkish Straits (Dardanelles and Bosphorus). We would like to mention that we do cover all Turkish ports via our branch in Tuzla Shipyard and sub-offices at Izmir, Iskenderun, Mersin and Samsun in addition to our service at Turkish Straits.

How has the company evolved over the course of years?
We have started the business as a very modest sized company expanding our capacity over the years in line with the growing demand from our satisfied customers. Today we combine our traditional approach of doing business with our established modern corporate culture.

During this period of crisis, how much has your market been affected?
The global downturn has severely affected the shipping markets and inevitably our segment got its share on that. We live in an environment that the largest multinational companies, banks even governments are defaulting, trust then becomes extremely important between counterparties. Thanks to our existence in the market for many years we have developed strong relationships with our clients and relying on those ties and mutual understanding we are trying to overcome the crisis with the least damage. This requires sacrifice from everyone involved in the international trade.
As ATLAS, we hope to weather this crisis soonest and keep following all developments with a positive approach.

What measures have you implemented in order to shield Atlas from the crisis?
We have double checked our marketing and financial strategies to be able to set a stronger structure for handling unexpected difficulties during this period. Meanwhile we closely follow all developments in our sector for getting a larger point of view. In addition to these protecting factors, we try to keep our service with the good quality and the lower prime costs by realizing our purchasing operations sensitively.

Are you currently planning to introduce new products or services in the market, or even enter new markets?
We work in an industry that is constantly changing to make the life of our clients easier. Therefore we have been always looking for improvements both in terms of product verity and service.

What do you think is the potential of the market in Turkey and abroad?
Our clients are demanding, Turkey has a unique location with a logistically convenient and cost effective supply ports. Therefore market has a high potential in Turkey and business volume is growing day by day as parallel to new investments of our government and private companies.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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