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HomeTurkish Maritime NewsUrgent investment needs cannot be met in ports

Urgent investment needs cannot be met in ports

The introduction of mega-ships, green transformation and growth prospects in maritime transport created an urgent need for investment in ports. However, the expiration of the usage contracts of many private port operators hinders investments.

The rapid increase in container loads in Turkey and the addition of mega ships to the fleet in global trade have increased the need for capacity in ports. In just the next three years, a 16 percent increase in container handling is targeted compared to 2020.

Digitalization, green transformation and other technological developments also necessitate investment in ports. However, according to the porters, the fact that there is very little time left for the use of the private port operator’s contracts is a major obstacle to the investments to be made. Authorities are waiting for an urgent solution on this issue.

There are more than 180 ports, piers and dolfen buoy coastal facilities operating in Turkey. As of today, almost more than 95 percent of the cargo handled in Turkey is handled by private port operators.

Nearly 65 percent of Turkey’s foreign trade in terms of value and almost 85 percent in terms of tonnage is carried out by sea, that is, through ports. Aydın Erdemir, Member of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Port Operators Association (TÜRKLİM), pointed out that the amount of cargo handled at ports has increased rapidly and said, “When all our ports in Turkey are taken into account, approximately 497 million tons of cargo was handled in 2020, while in the first six months of 2021, 5 percent in total cargo compared to 2020. An increase of 12 was achieved. With the measures they took and the extraordinary measures they implemented during the pandemic period, Turkish ports kept the ports, which are the main gates and bases of our country’s foreign trade, open uninterruptedly. Completing 2020 without much tonnage loss, it started 2021 faster than expected. This growth continues,” he said.


According to the news of Aysel Yücel from Dünya Newspaper,Emphasizing that for the sustainability of global trade, investments to increase the capacity of existing ports have become a necessity due to the constantly growing ships, and that it is imperative to implement a new port project other than the existing ones for Turkey’s 2023 and 2050 targets, Erdemir said, “Turkey’s foreign trade will grow as targeted and Increasing competitiveness is possible with the timely completion of future port investments. Even in the 2023 targets of the 11th Development Plan, it is foreseen that 13.5 million TEU containers will be handled. Even this means a 16 percent increase in containers over the next 3 years compared to 2020. When we look at the targets for 2050, it is foreseen that the total load of 497 million tons in 2020 will increase to a minimum of 1 billion tons and the number of containers from 12 million TEU to 35 million TEU. In order to achieve these targets, the port capacity will need to increase 2-3 times the existing port capacity in Turkey. This will be possible with the entry of new port investors into the sector, who can invest on a very large scale from within and/or outside the country, apart from our existing port operators.”

Emphasizing that digitalization, green transformation and other technological developments also require huge amounts of investment in ports, Erdemir said that the short period of time before the expiry of the usage contracts is a major obstacle to these investments.

Erdemir said, “The remaining terms of the usage contracts of many of our private port operators operating in Turkey have been shortened. We even have port facilities with a usage period of up to 6-7 years. When we look at these usage agreements, which we will also accept as the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model, it is unfortunately not possible for a large number of port operators, whose usage period is shortened, to make the port investments that our country needs and to receive the return of these investments in the remaining time. It is essential and vital for our country to maintain its competitiveness in parallel with its growing foreign trade, by extending the current usage periods in port investments that require very large investment amounts and have a very long return on investment, ensuring that our port investors can see the future and make the necessary investments for our country’s port business. made.


Emphasizing that it is of great importance for the Turkish economy to extend the existing usage agreements of private sector ports in Turkey, under the same conditions, under the same conditions, Hakan Genç, President of TÜRKLİM, said: The magnitude of the public interest to be transferred to the public should be taken into consideration. Therefore, it is seen that there is no obstacle to the extension of the existing usage contracts of our ports, similar to our shipyards or free zones, from today. As TÜRKLİM, we are ready to support and contribute to our relevant administrations regarding the legal regulation to be made on this issue.”


Emphasizing that in the past, the operating periods in shipyards and free zones have been extended and thus investments have accelerated, the authorities want similar support to be given to porters. Aydın Erdemir made the following statement on the subject:

“Similar to our ports, our shipyards have 49-year usage contracts as coastal facilities. In 2013, 18 years before the expiry of the remaining lease terms of our shipyards, the usage agreements were increased to 49 years with an arrangement made in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. This support enabled our shipyards to see their future better, plan better and increase their credit reputation. Thus, with these new advantages, shipyard investments in Turkey increased rapidly. The support given at that time played a large part in the successful export performance of the shipyard sector, which was clustered in the Yalova-Altinova region after Tuzla. Similarly, the operating period of Bodrum Cruise Port, which is operated by Bodrum Cruise Port Operations, a subsidiary of Global Holding, was extended to 49 years with the decision published in the Official Gazette in 2018. This paved the way for the related investor and operating company to expand by making new investments in the relevant port.”

A situation similar to shipyards and ports was experienced during the extension of the operating contracts of companies operating free zones owned by the treasury.

Erdemir said, “Operation periods of Mersin, Antalya, Ege and Adana-Yumurtalık free zones were extended by making arrangements in favor of the public as a result of this regulation, thus opening the way for operators who avoided making irreversible investments because their time was shortened. In this way, all infrastructure and superstructure investments that were required to be made as of 2017 began to be made quickly.”

On the other hand, with the decision published in the Official Gazette yesterday, the operation period of the Trabzon Free Zone was extended until 2040.


The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.

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