Turkey: Records in exports increased activity in ports

While Turkey broke export records this year, the workload and volume increased at ports, one of the most important transfer points where exports take place. Mersin International Port, which has been active with the increase in exports, focused on new investments in order to stand out with competitive freight prices in global trade and to meet the increasing capacity.

While the search for alternatives to the supply chains that have deteriorated in the world due to the impact of the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic increases the interest in Turkey, Turkish companies continue to add new ones to the existing markets in exports. The Turkish economy broke records in exports in 11 of the last 12 months. In November, exports increased by 33.4% compared to the same month of the previous year and reached $21.5 billion, which was the highest monthly export to date. On an annualized basis, exports also rose to $221 billion.

Mersin International Port, one of the most important points where exports take place, continues to contribute to the increase in exports with its increasing capacity. The port, which provides services for a wide range of cargoes from containers to conventional ones, carries out 22% of the country’s annual exports in containers and 7% in conventional cargoes. In the 11 months of this year, 763 thousand 908 TEUs of container cargo and 3.6 million tons of conventional cargo were exported via the port.

Mersin International Port, which is an important trade point with its geographical location, capacity, wide hinterland and domestic and international destinations, is one of the leading ports in Turkey and also in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The port provided terminal services to 3,584 ships in total last year.


Johan Van Daele, General Manager of Mersin International Port (MIP), told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the port has grown by an average of 7.5% annually in the last 14 years after the privatization and has become the largest port in the country for the last 3 years.

Pointing out that MIP, the world’s 92nd and Turkey’s largest port, currently has a container handling capacity of 2.6 million TEUs, Van Deale said, “Exceeding the historical threshold of 2 million TEU in 2020, MIP aims to reach the level of 2.1 million TEU in 2021. In order to meet the demands of our vast hinterland, we have already reached 76% capacity utilization. Considering the occasional fluctuations in the container trade, this rate rose to 90% in some months during the year.”

Pointing out that the port, which has a railway and road connection, is also adjacent to the industrial zones, Van Deale said, “MIP not only connects Turkey to the world for exports, but also strongly supports the industry for the necessary import of basic raw materials. Located in the Cukurova region, the port is a strategic export loading port for citrus and many other fresh fruits, especially for the Black Sea Region and Middle East countries.”


Van Deale stated that the port has the role of a direct gateway to the Commonwealth of Independent States, Iraq, the TRNC and many other regional countries. “MIP provides services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, subject to customs legislation, and the recent increase in exports has also increased the port’s workload and volume. With the increasing volume trend in recent years, MIP has also started the Doors Project investment to cope with the additional workload at the doors and to meet the increased capacity in the future.”

Stating that MIP needs more capacity to be a player in the global container market and to host mega ships, Van Deale pointed out that the port will become the main port of call in the Eastern Mediterranean region with its strategic location and connections to the Commonwealth of Independent States, Iraq, the Black Sea.


General Manager Van Deale also pointed out the steps taken to accelerate export transactions and continued his words as follows:

“We closely follow every step in the operation flow process in order to increase our efficiency and provide uninterrupted service to our customers. In this direction, we are working on some technological structures for a faster, better and more operational terminal service. One of the works that we have started to implement recently is the Smart Dock Planning tool. This project helps to organize the operational activities of the terminal. This system is an automatic berth planning tool. The tool explores over 3 million different berth planning options and wisely selects the alternative that will enable optimized distribution of the workload in container berths. Having invested $250 million in capacity expansion, equipment and infrastructure projects in the recent past, MIP plans to invest more than $450 million in expansion and improvement projects in the near future, including the Mersin Port Expansion Project (EMH II) with $375 million and the Doors Project of $27 million in the near future.”


Explaining that they are focusing on new investments in order to provide the necessary service with the rapid increase in global trade, Van Deale said:

“With the EMH II project, MIP will increase its total capacity to 3.6 million TEU and will be able to simultaneously serve two mega-ships with a length of 400 meters, which are the largest ships in the world. MIP, which wants to guarantee uninterrupted and quality service to port users with this additional capacity, will also invest in additional equipment, including 4 quay cranes and 24 field cranes, within the scope of the project. MIP, which currently employs 3 thousand people directly and 25 thousand people indirectly, aims to create 500 direct and 5 thousand indirect jobs within the framework of the EMH II project with this capacity increase.

With this project, the number of direct services will increase and competitive freight prices will be provided with shorter transit times. When the project is completed, the strategic position of Mersin International Port in the Eastern Mediterranean will be strengthened and will add value to the economic development of the region. As a result, MIP will be in a competitive position in container trade with other country terminals in the Mediterranean basin.”

Source: Sabah / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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