Ahmet Altunkum (pictured), the chairperson of the board of directors of Turkey’s Hareket Heavy Lifting and Project Transportation, stepped into the world of heavy transportation in 1997. Sophie Barnes discusses the company’s journey.

At the end of the 1990s Hareket foresaw that demand for heavy lifting and project logistics services in Turkey would increase. The company, and chairperson Ahmet Altunkum, recognised that the country lacked the equipment to meet these demands and invested accordingly. In lockstep, both Altunkum and Hareket made their first strides in the industry.

Significant milestones

Since then, there have been many significant milestones in Altunkum’s 24 years in the business. He pinpointed an important crawler crane project in Azerbaijan in 2005 – activities at an offshore fabrication yard lasted for two-and-a-half years and marked Hareket’s first long-term heavy lift project.

Another turning point for Altunkum came in 2009. “We made an important investment in equipment for wind energy projects, in addition to my decision to establish a wind assembly team.”

Looking back across his experience in the industry, Altunkum considered how the sector has changed over time: “In today’s world, the industries have had to establish facilities in uniquely large sizes to reduce unit costs and enhance efficiency. This obligation has required larger modules and sections to be transported, lifted and installed, which resulted in creative and innovative solutions for lifting, transportation and installation services.”

Turkish firms operating in these fields [energy and large infrastructure] have great advantages in offering services to the large investments that are being made in neighbouring countries. – Ahmet Altunkum, Hareket

But in any career spanning more than two decades, there are also lows to accompany the highs and the events of 2020certainly threw up challenges for every part of the supply chain. “2020 was a challenging year for the entire world,” reflected Altunkum.

A silver lining, however, was that ongoing projects both at home and abroad – including power plant projects in Turkey – meant Hareket “spent 2020 working intensely”.

Low capacity usage

Nevertheless, “since some large projects were suspended, our heavy transportation works were suspended. Therefore, we had to use our capacity at a very low rate,” noted Altunkum.

Remaining confident, Altunkum said: “As long as energy and large infrastructure investments are made, heavy lifting and project transportation will continue to serve the business opportunities in our country and neighbouring countries.

“Thanks to their capacities, experiences and geographic proximity, Turkish firms operating in these fields have great advantages in offering services to the large investments that are being made in neighbouring countries. We anticipate that we will further increase our business volume in our region, where large-scale investments are being made.”

Hareket stands to benefit and Altunkum believes that there are a number of reasons that the company will be able to maintain its leading position in the sector. “We are a company that prioritises customer satisfaction under any condition, and we aim to complete the works safely and on time.

“With our creative engineering, professional project management system, state-of-the-art heavy lifting and transportation fleet and the contributions of our professional team, we produce turnkey solutions in line with the customer demands in heavy lifting and project logistics fields. We are known for our capacity to offer the projects that we have undertaken on time, at reasonable cost and through high service standards, as well as our innovative approaches.”

Our goal is to be among the top five largest companies in our industry worldwide within the following five years. – Ahmet Altunkum, Hareket

Leading position

“We will continue to work nonstop to maintain our leading position in the industry and to get the same position in the target countries.” This includes Central Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries. “Our goal is to be among the top five largest companies in our industry worldwide within the following five years. We want to go beyond being a regional power and become a global leader,” Altunkum asserted. Altunkum’s advice for anyone at the beginning of his or her career in the world of heavy lift and project logistics is: “Fully embrace your work, concentrate on constantly improving yourself and keep your shoulder to the wheel.”

This article has been taken from the May/June 2021 edition of HLPFI.