The Capacity of Turkish Ports is Expanding Three-Fold

The Balance in the Mediterranean to Change

Eighty percent of Turkey’s foreign trade is carried out by maritime shipping. The country has nearly 200 ports and boat landings as of June 2018, the Chamber of Shipping reported. Many of these are capable of handling international shipping. But these are insufficient for Turkey, which aims to become an economic superpower by 2023.

As of 2012, the latest that international shipping statistics are available, the Turkish merchant fleet was the 24th biggest in the world, controlling 9.7 million dead weight. But some maritime authorities say that many Turkish owners operate many large cargo vessels, container ships and oil tankers under flags of convenience and that figure for Turkish-owned merchant ships could be three times greater than they actually are.

Thousands of foreign freighters, roll-on roll-off ships and oil tankers dock in Turkish ports to unload crude oil and other raw materials, and semi-finished products. They take back from Turkey industrial goods, such as automobiles, chemical products, steel, textiles and machinery, as well as the nation’s traditional exports, including tobacco, hazelnuts and other agricultural produce.

Turkey is building new ports and expanding existing ones to meet the growing demands for its maritime services.

The nation is bolstering the annual ship handling capacity of its biggest port, the port of Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast, from 1.8 million TEU (Twenty foot equivalent units) to 2.6 million TEU. Akfen Holding’s Mersin International Port Company is carrying out a $160 million investment that will be able to handle quickly the globe’s biggest container ships – 400 meters (1,312 feet) in length -- in this busy corner of the world.

Expansion work is continuing at the Container Port of Yarımca in Kocaeli province, 70 km (43 miles) east of Istanbul, which will raise its cargo handling capacity to 1.3 million TEU. The port is operated by DP World, owned by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Sheikh of Dubai. The port will be equipped with TL 871 million investments in Super-Post Panamax winches that can service the biggest container ships.

Projects Galore

Turkey, which aims to boost its annual exports over $150 billion quickly, is focusing on big high capacity investments. Investments in ports that will be completed in the next two years will raise the country’s port handling capacity nearly three-fold. Turkey’s ports capacity to handle cargo will increase from 55 million tons a year to 145 million tons a year.

Çandarlı Port
Slated to be one of the top 10 container ports of the world

The port, 91 km (57 miles) north of Izmir, is to become the eastern Mediterranean’s new logistics center and one of the world’s 10 biggest container ports. The foundation of Çandarlı Port was laid in 2011.

Construction work is in three stages. The first stage is to make it capable of handling 4 million TEU. When the project is completed the port will have 12 million TEU capacity, double Turkey’s entire port loading capacity.

Six 300-meter (982-foot) long container ships will be able to dock at the port at the same time. Çandarlı Port will have 800,000 square meters (8.611 million feet) warehousing facilities. Turkey’s ship and container handling capacity will increase 70%. The port will have a 40-meter (131- foot) depth. It will allow big ships that can’t dock at the smaller Izmir Alsancak Port to moor. Çandarlı Port will also become a serious rival of the Greek Port of Piraeus. More than 1,100 ships, with 200,000 dwt, are expected to use the port each year.

To Become Europe’s Third Biggest Container Port

Asyaport is under construction in Tekirdağ, a town along the European side of the Sea of Marmara about 250 km (155 miles) west of Istanbul. The government is spending $450 million on the port, which will have an annual capacity to load and unload 2.5 million containers. When it starts operating at full capacity, it is expected to become the biggest container port in the Mediterranean region and Europe’s third largest.

Petkim Container Port
Alternative to Piraeus

Petkim’s Container Port, a key component of Azerbaijan state oil company SOCAR's $5.6 billion investment in a new refinery, port and naphtha facility in Aliağa, in western Turkey, 62 km (39 miles) north of the Aegean port city of Izmir.

An integrated port facility, it will have an annual capacity for 1.5 million TEU and draw large bulk container ships. The port is one of the biggest container ports in the eastern Mediterranean and rival the Greek port of Piraeus.

Beyond a Port Project

Construction work is continuing on Filyos Port, on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey, 31 km (20 miles) east of Zonguldak. The port, is one of Turkey’s five biggest development undertakings.

Infrastructure investments alone cost $300 million. Discussed since the 1970s, Filyos Port will become the Black Sea’s most important transshipment ports in the near future.

Filyos won’t just be a port. Power plants, heavy industry and manufacturing facilities and a commercial region are already planned.