Rolling out a short red carpet
DP World’s Yarımca terminal in the Gulf of Izmit was connected to the Turkish railway network recently. The facility’s operator hopes to be able to direct additional domestic goods flows to Yarımca. The Turkish transport minister underlined the fact that the new link underpins the country’s international railfreight transport ambitions.
The rail line is just under a kilometre long, but its opening in July attracted a great deal of attention – and Turkey’s transport minister, Mehmet Cahit Turhan, and other regional and national dignitaries. Even if the line is only 1,000 m long, the section is set to be a key link in Turkey’s multimodal logistics chain. The line is located on the premises of DP World’s Yarımca Port container terminal in the town of Körfez, and is linked to the Istanbul – Ankara railway line and thus also, in a broader sense, to railway traffic links to and from Asia.
New – yet already with strong growth
The construction of the track started in January; it was completed in June. The first test runs took place immediately thereafter. DP World Yarımca provided the financing instruments. Medlog, the Turkish branch of MSC’s logistics division, was also involved. It operates a fleet of 414 trucks and 255 trailers and banks mainly on intermodal connections to and from ports. On the occasion of the official opening of the route it also carried out the first transport.
DP World’s four-year-old Yarımca terminal is one of the country’s fastest-growing goods-handling centres; it will benefit from connections to the national railway network. DP World Yarımca handled around 1 million teu last year, and wants to further increase its volumes, as chief executive officer Kris Adams underlined. “We want to use the opportunities offered by rail, and simultaneously reach customers in more distant places.” He is focusing on the cities of Ankara, Eskisehir, Bilecik and Kütahya. Adams sees a great potential in transporting goods such as ore, marble and machinery.
Transport minister Turhan extended the geographical significance of the railway, linking DP World’s Yarımca terminal with destinations even further afield. “This project connects Yarımca seamlessly to rail routes running from China to London. DP World’s initiative also shows that private providers can prosper in Turkey, and that interaction with government instances is smooth.” Turhan also highlighted the expansion of his country’s railway network in recent years. According to the minister, an average of 135 km have been added to the railway network every year since 2003.
Turkey wants to increase the share of railfreight traffic in domestic goods transportation to approximately 10% by 2023. Great further efforts are still needed to this end, however. A line from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Ankara, via Tbilisi (Georgia) and Kars (Turkey) and opened last year, has so far fallen short of its goods haulage forecasts.