Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Turkey to present golden opportunities in intermodal!

Having taken steady steps on the way to undertake the trade and logistics leadership of its location, thanks the advantages of its geographical position, Turkey will be an intermodal transportation bridge through many important projects like TRACECA, BALO, Viking, TRaceM, Baku-Tbilisi- Kars Railroad, and Marmaray.

intermodal_turkeyStating that when such geographical advantages are taken into account, intermodal is priceless for Turkey, the representatives of the  sectors underline that the companies failing to invest in this area do not have chance to compete in the future.
Bearing the capacity of playing a central role in the regional and global integration engagements and possessing a high-quality east-west motorway network, Turkey has the potential of being an important logistics centre and transit country with the TRACECA Corridors, Eurasia Transport Connections, and Pan-Europe Corridor IV that pass through its national vicinity. The economic and political developments in the neighbouring regions like the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Basin, Caucasia, and Central Asia, and the Middle East are clarifying the role of Turkey in the region. A significant portion of the commercial commodities are being shipped by means of road transport in Turkey today. This dependency on road transportation brings some problems regarding the transport system like traffic jam, environmental setbacks, problems encountered at the border crossings, motorway taxation, restrictions on the motorway traffic, license deficiencies, and customs imitations. In order to overcome these problems and create a more sustainable transport system, Turkey commences the application of intermodal transport solutions that also make use of the advantages of road transport system and that provide rapid results.

Increasing the share of the transportation pie through giant projects
In Turkey that has a significant potential for many aspects, currently many important project regarding the development of intermodal transportation such as EU Twinning Project for Strengthening Intermodal Transportation in Turkey, TRACECA, BALO, Viking, TRaceM, Kars Tiflis Baku Railroad, Marmaray, Samsun-Kavkaz Train Ferry Project, Tekirdağ-Derince Ferryboat Project, Van-Tatvan Train Ferry Project, Mersin Container Port, and Çandarlı and Filyos Ports are being implemented. These projects are considered to be the steps that will ensure that Turkey will step into new age in the intermodal transportation and that a considerable share of the world’s transportation pie will be provided to Turkey. International road transportation operators have already been adapting themselves into the international conditions by applying creative solutions that combine marine, road, and Ro-Ro transportation. Stating that when such geographical advantages are taken into account, intermodal is priceless for Turkey, the representatives of the  sectors underline that the companies failing to invest in this area do not have chance to compete in the future.

Roadmap of intermodal being prepared
In Turkey, there is no national legal framework or provision that will regulate the national and international intermodal transport or facilitate the transition from long-distance road transportation to railroad and/or coastal shipping.
Moreover, it does not have the financial and administrative incentives utilized in the Western European countries in order to empower intermodal transport, such as tax reduction and subsidy schemes. Even though it is clear that Turkey makes use of intermodal transportation in its international transport and logistics activities, through Turkey’s road -railroad, Ro-La, Ro-Ro and railroad- ferryboat services, there is a requirement for a comprehensive intermodal transportation strategy and framework. In other words, a roadmap that will ensue the more efficient and sustainable growth of the intermodal operations is needed.
Turkish Ministry of Transport Maritime and Communication is planning to solve this problem through the EU Twinning Project of Strengthening Intermodal Transportation in Turkey to be implemented together with Spain’s Ministry of Transport and Public Works. Within the scope of the EU Twinning Project with 1 million Euro budget, goal was set to the preparation of an intermodal transportation legislation that is harmonized with the EU legislation and the creation of a Strategy Document.

What needs to be done?
According to the Turkish Intermodal Transport Report of International Transport Forum, the steps to be taken by Turkey in the field of intermodal transportation in order to improve its commerce, obtain a sustainable and more balanced national and international transport system and to undertake a more central role in terms of access of Europe to the markets of Caucasia, Asia, and the Middle East, are listed as:  
- A National Master Plan that constitutes the framework for the promotion of Intermodal transportation and logistics must be prepared,  
- An intermodal transportation and logistics department must be established under the roof of the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication,
-  Into the process of development and promotion of a sustainable intermodal transportation system  for Turkey, all the stakeholders from the public and private sectors must be included,
- For the development of the intermodal transportation services, administrative and financial precautions  must be applied for attracting the private capital,
- The infrastructure capacities of the big-scale ports must be increased in the manner that will respond the market demands that are expected to grow significantly in the next 15 years,  
- The Turkish Ro-Ro system and its connection with South Europe are fairly successful. Therefore, the authorities of Turkish transport must encourage the expansion of these connections, specifically in terms of the domestic commercial flows, toward the other areas of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea  commerce,
- With other transport modes, hinterland connections of the ports must be provided, primarily the railroads that will provide advantages for the logistics markets,
- In order to increase the share of the railways in intermodality, railroad network must be improved not only for the high speed passenger transportation but also in the manner that will provide possibility for the competitive and reliable transport of the commodities.

EU’s support to intermodal with Marco Polo
The European Union has been carrying out studies aiming at empowering competition by decreasing the transport costs with the USA and the Far East countries, at reducing the amount of road transport in terms of decreasing the CO2 emissions, and at increasing intermodality for augmenting distribution of the maritime, inland waterway and railroad transportation. Within the framework of the EU transport policy, one of the most attention inviting precautions regarding the fulfilment of the environmental requirements and solution of problems is the Marco Polo Programme accepted on 22 July 2003. Being the continuation of the PACT (Pilot Action Combined Transport) programme applied between 1997 and 2001, Marco Polo Programme is a programme that stipulates that the European Union provides finance for the project the aiming at transferring the cargo transportation into the seaway, railway, and riverbank, i.e., inland waterway, transportation from road transportation as far as possible. While the EU had allocated 115 million Euros of budget for the Marco Polo Programme in the 2003-2006 period, it has determined the financing support for the 2007-2013 Marco Polo II Programme as 400 million Euros. In addition to the supports provided within the scope of these programmes, supports are also provided through the framework programmes regarding research, development, and improvement of innovation in the field of transportation.
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