The Propeller Club idea was first conceived in New York in 1922 when a small group engaged in the marine industry, gathered frequently at luncheon to discuss mutual problems and the future of American shipping. After World War I, there was an excess of vessels available, and the pressing problem was how to make the best use of them.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 had pointed the way for the sale of government owned ships to both citizens and foreigners. The United States Shipping Board there after determined and established world trade routes “for the promotion, development, expansion and maintenance of the foreign and coastwise trade of the United States.”
In a short period of time, the original group expanded its activities. The Propeller Club of the “Port of New York” was established in 1923. Propeller Club of the United States was founded four years later in 1927. The first overseas Port was established in Hamburg, Germany in 1932. Today, there are 28 clubs in 14 different countries around the world.
The Port of İstanbul
The Propeller Club Port of Istanbul was established in 1951*, as a branch of a maritime organization based in Washington DC. In more recent decades the Port of Istanbul Club has expanded its focus to include the promotion of international trade, finance, and investment. The Club is the only officially English-speaking business association in Türkiye. Its main activity is a monthly luncheon preceded by a cocktail where members, who are high-level representatives of a wide range of sectors, network and engage in discussions of economic and other issues and listen to a prominent speaker on a current topic of interest.
The formal objective of the Propeller Club is “To provide a forum for Turkish, American and other foreign businesspersons, to become better acquainted with each other and exchange views on matters of mutual interest; to promote relations in trade and logistics, to increase awareness of events relevant to the economic development of Istanbul and of Türkiye as a whole and provide members an opportunity to contribute to the economic life of the community.” While remaining true to its original founding purpose, the Port of Istanbul Club has become a lively center for discussion of a wider range of topics including the challenges of developing greater awareness and acceptance of Environmental, Social and Governance issues in the Turkish business community.
*The Club was founded by five American citizens residing in Istanbul:
- Colonel W. F. Britton, U.S. Army, SA
- Dingee, General Mgr. Sokoni Vakum, Istanbul
- Charles Waggoner, Operating Mgr. PAA, Istanbul
- Steve Diehl, Manager, General Electric Co. Istanbul
- Frank Butler, U. S. Consul General, Istanbul