Interview with Bernice Aikins, Sales Lead of Portside (Ghana)


Interview with Bernice Aikins, Sales Lead of Portside (Ghana)

GNBCC is pleased to share this article on its business member, Portside, based on an interview with GNBCC Board Member Bernice Aikins, Sales Lead of Portside.

Address and contact:

Fishing Harbour Rd, Tema, Ghana

Can you tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming Sales Lead for Portside Ghana?

I am Bernice Aikins and I am the sales lead for Portside. We work as a network which is also in Togo and the Netherlands and we are looking at expanding. My job in sales is about growing the business and trying to build more prospect relationships and turn them into clients. After university, I joined an HR firm as a recruiter, However due to my background in Marketing & Sales, I wanted to pursue my career in that field so I moved on to work with a security company as a Marketing Manager. After a short while the opportunity came for me to join Portside and I was interested because the logistics industry is an industry that I wanted to be in. It is an industry that keeps you on your toes because if you’re not acting, there is someone in your stead. The logistics market is very concentrated. This role and field was new to me but I wanted to challenge myself. I joined Portside almost 4 years ago and it's been exciting. I am always trying to secure more jobs. Most clients would already have a supplier so it's about how you can provide something different and a step further from what their current supplier is giving them. That is what makes this an interesting industry.

In logistics, anytime anything goes wrong it affects the client directly, for instance a manufacturing company will need cargo to readily available in order for production to continue, So any delay from the side of the logistics company has a direct impact on the overall performance of the customer. I don’t just focus on getting the customers in but also on making sure they enjoy a smooth journey and experience. So far it has been good. We get customers sending in appreciation e-mails to us and we are happy to be able to satisfy our clients.

What should our members know about Portside Ghana?

Portside was founded 12 years ago with its headquarters in the Netherlands. We are also in Togo which is the newest branch. We moved to Togo during Covid and it took a lot of momentum to start a new branch during such volatile times but the branch has been a success story. We are ship agent which means we handle vessels for lines that don’t originally operate from Tema. The ships come and we have to make sure that all the arrangements with Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, offloading, discharging etc. is in order. We are a  representing agent for NMT in Ghana, NMT is one of the biggest RoRo shipping lines. So when the vessels arrive, we have an operations team that handles the vessels after which they are discharged and released to the various customers. We are also agents for Breadbox which is a break bulk shipping line, Break bulk is into bigger bulky non-moveable cargo which are not in containers. Apart from being ship agents we are also freight forwarders and do door-to-door.

We also operate a container terminal in Tema where we hold empty containers for shipping lines and other individuals. We have our own trucks with great experience in trucking within Ghana and to countries like Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast etc. We look to provide a competitive price because we still want to support the businesses of our clients. Our target is to get customers the best rate. In Ghana we have about 50 employees, in Togo and the Netherlands we have smaller teams of about 5 employees.

For us as freight forwarders the economic situation is affecting us as a result of our clients being affected. If you don’t have customers importing or exporting because of the high rates then that directly affects you. So as a business we look at other sections to focus on more.

What is your greatest achievement?

We worked for the UN, handling cargo vessels which belong to the army and they appreciated our work. We are proud as Portside to have been able to deliver. We have also worked for the Ministry of Health through our partners. We finished a project with Vamed and after the project they sent a positive feedback via e-mail and that makes us very proud. Such feedback is very valuable and helpful.

Why did you become a member of the board?

I have been with GNBCC from the moment I joined Portside almost four years ago and I have learnt the way of doing things at GNBCC and I believe I can also contribute and share ideas.

I joined the board to see how best we can push this agency forward and get more experience for members. Members want to be at a place where they feel they get value for their money and time. As a board it allows us the opportunity to come up with plans to give members the confidence to belong to GNBCC and also build their business.

How has it been as a member of the board?

Being a member has to do with a lot of commitment. It's been fun and I appreciate the people on the board. But you have to be committed to the membership because you have to allocate time in your calendar for meetings and planning for years ahead outside of your personal and business calendar. I appreciate the people on the board because they allow for us to  be able to contribute and you are able to learn from them in return. But, again you must be ready to commit.

How is the relationship with GNBCC?

The relationship has been good. We hosted our first cocktail meeting this February and we are ready to really partner with GNBCC and in the best of our strength help make the association strong. We have built new connections, friendships and leads through GNBCC.

Portside owners are happy with GNBCC and look out for the betterment of GNBCC. And we are happy for the opportunity for a rep from Portside to be a board member. At Portside we are looking to grow and provide the best service our customers can experience. Whatever the requirement is we will make the best decision for their business.

What are your expectations for the future of GNBCC?

There is still more room for improvements. As GNBCC we need to identify what the most important things are that members are looking for. We should find out what members look out for at various times and the type of things they want to experience.


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