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NCL veteran leads Global Ports Holding's Americas thrust

Colin Murphy - 'As ships get bigger and bigger, sometimes it's difficult for destinations to keep up. Our business model is to be a provider of solutions' Colin Murphy - 'As ships get bigger and bigger, sometimes it's difficult for destinations to keep up. Our business model is to be a provider of solutions'

Following its IPO on the London Stock Exchange last spring, the world's largest cruise port operator—Global Ports Holding—has been working to expand into the Americas, with an initial emphasis on the Caribbean.

Colin Murphy, regional coordinator, is leading that effort from South Florida. During 19 years with Norwegian Cruise Line, Murphy—who retired in April as SVP destination development—oversaw areas including shore excursions and land services, port operations, air services and on-board revenue. His portfolio became a corporate one when NCL acquired Oceania Cruises and Regent Sevent Seas Cruises.

One of Murphy's last accomplishments at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings was creating a major new cruise destination, Harvest Caye in Belize.

Global Ports Holding has operations in 14 locations across eight countries and is espcially prominent in the Mediterranean where it has a 32% market share. Locations include Lisbon, which opened its new terminal on Friday, Barcelona, Málaga, Valletta, Dubrovnik, Bar, Cagliari, Catania, Ravenna, Venice, Antalya, Bodrum, Kusadasi and, in Asia, Singapore.

'As ships get bigger and bigger, sometimes it's difficult for destinations to keep up. Our business model is to be a provider of solutions, principally for the cruise lines, by providing them with well-run destinations that can handle larger ships,' Murphy said. Given his background, he bringa a 'comprehensive understanding of what our customers need.'

During the recent Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association conference in Mérida, Mexico, discussions hinged on building back the hurricane-impacted Caribbean ports to be stronger and more resilient than before, and on how destinations need to expand to benefit from cruise industry growth. Doing both is costly, and governments may not have the money.

As a speaker in Mérida, Murphy pointed out one way that European ports manage growth is through public-private partnerships, and this presents a possibility for the Caribbean.

Global Ports Holding can help with access to financing and in return typically strikes a deal with government for a long-term concession to operate the port.

'We have unparalleled experience in operating some of the best-operated ports,' Murphy said. 'We provide a new option for the region that hasn't been there before.'

As it looks to the Americas Global Ports Holding's primary focus is the Caribbean and, secondarily, mainland US, he said. South America could be in the future.

'We're talking with everyone to make sure they are aware of who we are and what we do and where we can have a role,' Murphy said, adding that conversations are taking place with 'all ports, big and small.'

Posted 13 November 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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