Dr. Darren Fraser, Senior Consultant
Darren Fraser has come a long way – over 15 years of professional experience in the maritime industry in financial planning, terminal operations and commercial management, as well as in academia. He comments on his successes with a smile: "It always seems impossible until it's done." The quote comes from Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, affectionately called "Tata" ("Father") by Darren, like by many of his compatriots. He himself grew up in the coloured township settlement of Eastwood under the apartheid regime, later graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting in Durban, and there hired on with the state-owned port operator Transnet Port Terminals.
Knowing a lot about the domestic port industry, the talented South African wanted to learn about the "astonishing scale" of the North Range ports. He moved to Antwerp, Belgium, where he completed his Master's degree plus a PhD in Maritime and Transport Economics. But his goal – to work internationally and find out what's happening in the world – was set much earlier: "As a kid, I actually wanted to be a CNN reporter." When he came across an HPC job offer as a Senior Consultant for Transport Economics on the professional network LinkedIn, it derailed his life: "My friends and family thought I was crazy when I left home for Hamburg with two pieces of luggage."
The bold career move paid off: During only his first year at HPC, Darren had project assignments in Canada, Rwanda, Tunisia, Trinidad and Tobago. Exciting assignments ranged from long-term port expansion strategy in Vancouver to the development and operation of ferry terminals on Central Africa's Lake Kivu. Darren also described the cruise market study for the Caribbean port of Scarborough as "fantastic". A focus on tourism and pollution was also important to him personally: "We absolutely have to preserve untouched nature like on Tobago".
The enthusiastic surfer added a weekend to his working stay on the island and grabbed his board: "I used to surf every morning in Durban before work". In Hamburg, he keeps fit as a keen runner – jogging every other day along the river Elbe, sometimes with colleagues, and running half-marathon distances on weekends: "Sports in nature clear my head". He needs that for new challenges – even if they initially seem unattainable.