Our correspondent Marco Sorgetti delivers
an exclusive homage here to one of the most important and emerging leaders
in transportation today, Turgut Erkeskin.
Very quietly and with great determination,
Turgut has emerged from his family business in Turkey as a leading freight
forwarder on the international stage.
Having served in top management of UTIKAD,
the organization of freight forwarders in Turkey, Turgut has shown outstanding
ability in leading the way on many fronts, while organizing and expanding
the role and prospects of freight forwarders.
Through it all, Turgut remains steadfast
and unflappable. His quiet determination is underscored with an easy style
as he is always ready to embrace new ideas and make friends on his journey
to build transportation.
When you think of where we are today, Turgut
The word that comes to my mind
when I think of Turgut is impressive.
That is precisely the impression
I had when we first met.
Let me explain: Here is a man born
in Turkey in 1964, who finished Sisli Terakki High School in 1980, graduated
from Istanbul University Faculty of Economics in 1984, then continued
his education abroad to improve his command of foreign languages.
In 1985 Turgut joined a leading
maritime enterprise active in both sides of the Bosphorus and in 1988
opened his own company in Istanbul.
He married Elif, a charming mother
of two, who is now vice president in his company with responsibility in
Sales and Marketing.
One could ask: what is so impressive
Please, allow me to explain this
with my little story.
If you ask which is Europe’s
largest city, some would say London, others Paris or Moscow, few would
reply correctly: Istanbul, which is listed the largest European city by
That is where Turgut lives and
where he graduated when he was just twenty years old. He became a successful
entrepreneur at the age of twenty-four, creating Genel Transport (www.geneltransport.com.tr).
A Lot Of Ground
The meaning of Genel in this case
is certainly far from generic, as the company deals with aerospace, healthcare
and life science, chemicals, live animals, heavy lift, and project cargo.
I cannot think of a more challenging
mix of specialities in the fine art of freight forwarding.
All of it is handled by a team
of over 100 professionals in six locations in Turkey, a good recipe for
a successful endeavour.
Pillar Of UTIKAD
Let us go back a few steps. Young
Turgut (age 22) immediately became involved in UTIKAD, the leading Turkish
freight forwarders’ association and, starting in 2002, when the
FIATA World Congress opened its doors to one of the finest terraces on
the Bosporus to throw a party all of us remember with some nostalgia.
Turgut says, “I was simply
impressed and I felt a responsibility towards UTIKAD that I had to get
involved in FIATA’s activities, rather than just enjoy the benefits
of being a member.”
This sounds to me like the fine
statement of a generous mind, in its complete simplicity.
Not so long ago UTIKAD validated
its educational program with FIATA and this requires a very big organizational
effort in an organization.
I remember Turgut’s knowing
smile, which he displayed on behalf of his organization: it was clear
that his pride was theirs and vice versa, a natural successful symbiosis.
Role At FIATA
Turgut is now FIATA’s Senior
Vice President (i.e., one step before the presidential role) and his age
suggests he still has plenty of energy to spend in FIATA.
Elevated First In Chamber
You may also wish to know that
Turgut has been the first forwarder ever to be elected in the Istanbul
Chamber of Commerce Transport Committee in 2005, occupying a prestigious
position traditionally reserved for the big shots of Turkish entrepreneurship,
which only meant ships, trucks, trains, and planes for several decades.
Turgut also spent three terms as
President of UTI²KAD between 2010 and 2016.
In 2012 he became the firm hand
behind UTI²KAD ’s decision to organize another FIATA Congress in
2014, beating the clock by 12 months and thus carving his permanent seat
in my heart as one of the best people you could deal with, full of enthusiasm
and realism at the same time.
Got To Have Heart
When Cavit Ugur (DG of UTIKAD and
Turgut’s right arm during his tenure as President) had an accident
that impeded his progress in the organization of the World Congress, Turgut
simply took some of the responsibilities and handed them back to Cavit
when he was able to jump back on the saddle.
This did not prevent us from having
a couple of wonderful dinners on the terrace looking out from Europe into
Asia, yet meeting every single footstep in the preparation precisely on
Step At A Time
So here you have a picture illustrating
why the adjective impressive comes to mind: Turgut simply ticked all the
boxes that life presented him, on time or earlier than expected.
When you speak to him you have
the impression you can totally rely on this man, and he will not disappoint
This is probably the trait that
won his wife’s heart who is (in Turgut’s words) his “biggest
Turgut notes “working for
so many associations takes a great deal of your time . . . time from your
business and private life.”
“I have never ever heard
any complaint from my wife, but she was and is always behind [these choices].”
That is a trait the pair may have
in common: in several years, I have never heard Turgut utter a single
complaint, despite the nature of the situation. As I said in the beginning:
If you plan to travel to Delhi
for 2018 FIATA World
Congress you will surely meet Turgut Erkeskin, an icon in the flesh.