A brief history of the Propeller Club of the Port of Geneva

The Propeller Club globally

The Propeller Club, founded in New York in 1927, has more than 15,000 active members spread across a hundred or so ports around the world.

Its aim is the promotion of the merchant navy, this being a prerequisite for the development of international trade and the coordination of the various players involved in the different fields of maritime activity: logistics, ship-building, ports, agents, shipowners, charterers, traders and the people who finance and insure them.  The Club promotes cooperation and the exchange of information.

Today, the Propeller Club has spread across the world, increasing its international influence and the non-american clubs now represent around a quarter of the total number.

The Propeller Club in Europe

In Europe the Propeller Club has members spread across the following 41 ports:

Abidjan, Algerciras, Antwerp, Anvers, Barcelona, Basel, Bilbao, Caen, Castellon, Cherbourg, Concarneau, Dieppe le Tréport, Dunkirk, Fort de France, Geneva, Genoa, Istanbul, La Rochelle, Las Palmas, Le Havre, Liverpool, Lorient-Port Louis, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Monaco, Nantes-St Nazaire, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Piraeus, Pointe à Pitre, Rouen, St Malo, Sète, Strasbourg, Thessaloniki, Valencia and Valetta.

The European Clubs often meet and engage with one another and hold annual events, such as “Maritime Days”.  Individual Clubs and groups of Clubs have their own initiatives to mentor students and to encourage young people to become involved in the maritime sector.

The Propeller Club in Geneva

It surprises many but Geneva and the Lake Geneva area have a very great importance in the maritime field. This is due to the importance of international trade in the area and the fact that the international organisations involved in the international transport of goods have their seat in Geneva, as well as a number of multinational companies.  The international trade sector is supported by specialist financiers, insurers, arbitrators and lawyers.

Although the Swiss merchant navy in 2018 only covered 32 vessels, the number of ocean-going vessels chartered and operated in Geneva and the surrounding area at any one time runs into thousands.

This fertile maritime environment led to the establishment of the Propeller Club of the Port of Geneva in 1983, despite there being no direct access to the sea.

Today the Club has some 160 members, men and women, who benefit from the informal gatherings of the Club to forge new contacts and make new relationships with others involved in the world of the international carriage of goods.

The spirit in which the Club in Geneva was founded is also reflected in its diverse membership, consisting as it does of shipowners, charterers, logistics providers, agents, banks, insurers, lawyers, multinationals and international organisations such as UNCTAD.

Some of the past presidents of the Propeller Club of the Port of Geneva are:-

Raymond Berger

Nicolas Wirth

Ernest Kaufmann

Geert Descheemaeker

Hubert Thyssen

Jeremy Davies

Although the Propeller Club of the Port of Geneva voted to leave the International Group of Clubs represented by the New York Club in 2017, members of the Geneva Club have always been active on the European scene and there is currently a plan, led by Geneva, to resurrect and revitalise the European Association of Propeller Clubs and to involve all European Clubs in that Association.