Friday, 27 July 2012

Exports to bypass Syria via Mersin Ro-Ro ships

Ro-Ro ships will carry Turkish exports to the Middle East bypassing Syria due to the recent border closings.

In the wake of Turkey closing its borders with Syria, there could be heightened demand for ro-ro usage, especially from Turkey’s southern Mediterranean port of Mersin, according to Turkish Exporters Union (TİM) President Mehmet Büyükekşi. The usage of ro-ro ships would allow Turkish exporters to bypass Syria and get their products to other countries in the region.

Turkey’s trade volume with Syria has witnessed an incredible shrinkage from $2.3 billion
in 2011 to $302 million in the January to May 2012 period, a 42 percent reduction from the same period last year. Büyükeşi said that despite the closing of Turkey’s borders with Syria, trade with other countries would not be affected. “The reduction in trade with Syria is not a new phenomenon. We’ve been focusing on exports to other countries. Since many Turkish trucks have been burned, a lot of companies prefer not to send their goods via Syria. The Mersin ro-ro line was inaugurated and right now it appears as the only alternative,” said Büyükekşi. With the closing of Turkey’s borders with Syria, other border points in Turkey are receiving an influx. The Gürbulak border in Turkey’s eastern province of Ağrı is one such point. Ağrı’s Deputy Mayor Ercan Ateş told Hürriyet that because trade is up during the summer months, so are export volumes. Trucks from Turkey to Syria fell to 5,244 in the
January to May 2012 period from 36,966 trucks in the same period last year.

‘Zero trade’

Separately, Turkey’s zero problems policy with its neighbors has ended up in zero trade, Faik Burakgazi of Mersin Chamber of Trade and Industry, Cumhuriyet newspaper has reported. The chamber’s chairman Şerafettin Aşut told Anatolia news agency yesterday that Mersin was a candidate to carry “Turkey’s load” with ro-ro ships.

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