Alexa

TOC Europe to explore growth prospects

TOC Europe to explore growth prospects

The 31st TOC Europe Conference & Exhibition will be staged for the first time in the great continental crossroads of Istanbul in June this year, according to the organizers.
In recognition of the tremendous growth opportunities in Turkey and the surrounding region, a number of high-level speakers will come together in a session dedicated to Turkey, the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.
Among them will be Ozgur Kalelioglu, Group Manager Sales & Customer Development of the leading Turkish Maritime Group Arkas Holding Port Services.
"The use of Turkish ports presents obvious benefits to carriers in terms of local and transit cargo -mainly in the area of lower costs due to the reduced transit times that can be realized by the usage of the Bosphorus passage," said Kalelioglu.
"Moreover, the booming economy of Turkey and the surrounding countries also presents major potential for containerization. As such, transit traffic between Turkey and its neighbouring countries, the current and potential capacity of the Marmara and Turkey's container traffic and investment opportunities in the Black Sea region are all topics likely to be under discussion at TOC Europe," he added.
With a population of around 70 million, Turkey is the biggest individual market in the Eastern Mediterranean, lying at the heart of the Black Sea region. Its container transport industry has exceptional growth potential, thanks to its own booming economy and that of its neighbours, its geographic location as a natural trade gateway between Europe and the East and this ongoing conversion of general cargo to containerized freight. As such, its existing double-digit growth rate is expected to continue for the coming years and port development activity is reflecting this.
Kalelioglu said "the process of privatizing government ports in Turkey has begun with Mersin and is currently ongoing, with plans afoot to privatize the ports of Izmir, Derince, Iskenderun and Samsun. As such, the opportunities for foreign and local port and intermodal investors are considerable."
However, the development of the Turkish container market is not without its impediments. "According to the 2006 figures, Turkey currently has a container traffic volume of 3.8 million, including transit cargo, for its 70-million population. If you consider the global annual average of containerized goods equals one container to every seven people, we have not even reached half of our potential, despite the fact that we are surrounded by three differenct seas and connected to two continents, namely Asia and Europe," Kalelioglu pointed out.
He said "one of the biggest challenges Turkey needs to overcome to develop a truly modern port and transport infrastructure is the up-until-now slow pace of the port privatization process. We also need to expedite private investments, which are currently being delayed and sometimes stopped by the executive ministries and similar bureaucracies."
However, if these challenges can be overcome, Kaleioglu is confident of the growth prospects and the opportunities for investors. He said Marpot Terminals itself is a fine example of a Turkish container port success story. Its Istanbul container facilities - Marport Main, West and East Terminals - currently have a total capacity of 1.5 million TEU. Marport is the largest container terminal in the Marmara Region and in Turkey.
Looking beyond Turkey and the Black Sea, TOC Europe will keep the sportlight on the vital issues of port productivity and the integrity of the total maritime transport chain.
The three-day agenda will open with an overview of drivers and constraints for global maritime trade, covering trends in global distribution and sourcing and the impact for transport and logistics. From there, the agenda will go on to cover everything from the structure of the global maritime transport network and the integrity of the feeder network, to intermodal capacity and connectivity, operations and technology, terminal productivity and environmental issues.