Economics Magazine

03/17/2013 // Ekonomi Magazine
Vi-Za Star Turizm Denizcilik General Manager Ziya Uzel

Maritime is the cheapest transportation in the worldwide.

“Vi-za Star was established in 2001. Our company rose with a very great acceleration in the period until the crisis since its establishment. We are in the position of the biggest agency of Zeyport port, which exports especially to Russia and the countries called as the former Soviet Union, and the company which maintains its ship potential.”

    Can you introduce yourself slightly for our readers?
    I was born on May 7, 1970 in Çankırı. I started to attend the elementary school in Çankırı and then, I completed my elementary education in Ankara Teğmen Kalmaz Elementary School. Then, I attended Kadıköy Anatolian High School. I graduated from Uludağ University, Department of Business Administration. I started my business life by working as agency officer in one of the biggest and best companies of that period in 1994. I reached my current position by developing myself and my targets continuously.
    When was Vi-za Star established? Which development process does it have since its establishment?
    Vi-za Star was established in 2001. I had also two companies with Russian partners in advance; I withdrew from partnership because of the disagreements and I established current Vi-za Star company. Our company rose with a very great acceleration in the period until the crisis since its establishment.
    We are in the position of the biggest agency of the ships, which carry the exportation especially to Russia and the countries called as the former Soviet Union, and the company which maintains the maximum ship potential. We have also started to purchase our own ships as of the end of 2005. We have five pieces of ships in our fleet now. We broke a record in the agency in Turkey and we increased the number of port ship up to 1012 in 2007. Maritime sector was also affected by the global crisis considerably because when there is no international trade, transportation is not available as well. We had stumbles at that period however we came out of the crisis stronger. The persons, who started to engage with this business from outside, were eliminated at that period. The biggest disadvantage of this situation affected the maritime sector as well. Banks provided loan to everybody before the crisis. Troubles occurred for providing loan to the seafarers substantially because of outstanding loans after the crisis because there were very bad debts.

    Can we get information about the fleet of Vi-za Star and the services that it provides?
Vi-za Star has three pieces of ships in the type of river. In general, we transport within Black Sea and East Mediterranean Sea zones including south coasts of Turkey. Besides, we have two pieces of 1500 dwt ships which we use for the suitcase trade. Furthermore, we operate in the field of agency and we are the Turkey general agency of mainly “JSSC UKRRICHFLOT”, which has the biggest fleet of Ukraine, and also reputable well-established companies of Ukraine and Russia, since our establishment.  

Where do you consider the position of Turkey, which is a country surrounded by sea on three sides, in the international maritime sector?
Maritime is not still known sufficiently in Turkey, which is surrounded by sea on three sides and investment is made slightly. Even Greece, which is not one fifth of us, is ahead of us in terms of this subject. We have lots of shortcomings in the operation of shipping line. Of course, one of the greatest factors of this is the fact that operation understanding can not be comprehended sufficiently by Turks and can not be applied regularly. All these factors damage Turkish fleet. We associate every floating thing at sea in the maritime with the ladies. Everything on the sea should be maintained like a well-groomed lady so that it can return the finance which you have invested as its owner or operator, exceedingly. But unfortunately operators choked up in any place without making maintenance and putting money. However, our maritime universities are continuing to open. If the rising generation can shape the maritime sector more, I believe that we, as Turkey, can rise with a very great acceleration in this sector as well.

An increase occurred in the number of ships registered with Turkish flag, with 150 gross tons and over, up to the rate of 50 percent in the last decade. What do you think about the reason of such mobility in the sector?
There are Turkish-flagged ships in the transportations among Turkish ports because of the cabotage. Mobility mostly from 300-500 tons to 3-5 thousands of tons already occurs within Turkey in the transportations with very great tonnage within the scope of cabotage. Ships with low gross ton seem much more reasonable in this transportation especially in south coasts of Turkey or Black Sea-Marmara line. Due to the fact that this situation is subject to the domestic trade, I do not know whether it increases more or not. These are very good and appropriate investments… Their costs are low but their functionalities are much more.

What are the capacities of your ships?
Capacities of our ships are in the range of 1500-3000 tons. These are mostly river boats… But even our ships with 1500 tons can enter into the river ports. Due to the fact that we work with reputable and well-established companies in the line of Russia and Ukraine, we can provide transportation more comfortably from such zones. Our agreements can settle in a shorter time and as we know each other, we can also solve the problems very quickly because everybody demands to keep ship revenue in maximum and also to agree with the counterparty in the probable problems within a common point with a common language.

What do you want to tell about contributions of the maritime sector into Turkish economy?
Contribution of the maritime sector to Turkish economy is very great. Due to the fact that our Minister of Communications Binali Yıldırım is of maritime origin, he sees this much better. State provides very great financial supports now. However, ship owners of other states carry our goods which depart from our own ports. This is a protrusive deficit both for us and also, for the economy. If we can grow, we can send our own exportation to any point through our own vessels, and we can keep payable freights in Turkey, in the safe-deposit boxes of Turkish companies i.e. inside. Maritime is the cheapest transportation in the worldwide. When you take annual basis concerning truck, aircraft, train or other transportations, paid freight or transportation fees remain at the rate of one fifth or one sixth of paid fees for the maritime transportation.

What will be your targets and new projects for Viza-Star in the following period?
First of all, we as a ship owner would like to enlarge our fleet much more. We are making studies related to this. Our biggest purpose is to make investment on the correct ship.. We, as ship agency, would like to increase in size with correct ship owners and correct ships. I hope we will increase in size by making correct shots to correct points gradually.

We thank you very much for this enjoyable conversation. What would like to add finally?
I would like to add finally that the loan can be provided in the purchases of ships up to fifteen years old only when it is Turkish-flagged. However, big companies can benefit from these loans. However, the purpose is not to enlarge the big one but the purpose should be to make contribution to others as well. Therefore, finance sector should understand it some more. We are also waiting for contributions of our state about this subject. 



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