Turkish truckers eye sea routes to avoid delays in Iran
ANKARA - Anadolu AgencyTurkish transport companies are considering alternative ways to cross the Caspian Sea to avoid delays on the route across Iran, a trade organization official said on late Jan. 6.
The use of ferry boats and Ro-Ro ships would cut transit time significantly, the head of Turkey’s International Transporters Association (UND), Fatih Şener, said in an exclusive interview.
There are plans to carry nearly 25 thousand trucks a year over the Caspian Sea using ferryboats and Ro-Ro ships from the newly constructed Alat port in Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan’s Türkmenbaşı port.
“As soon as Azerbaijan’s ferryboats and Turkmenistan’s newly purchased Ro-Ro ships come into play, annual capacity will reach 25 to 30 thousand vehicles a year,” Şener said.
“As long as the difficulties with Iranian customs continue, we should seek alternate routes. The Caspian Sea is the most logical choice. This will considerably shorten transit time and reduce costs,” he said.
Transit fees for trucks have recently become a sticking point between Turkey and its neighbor Iran.
Recently, Ankara increased transit fees for Iranian trucks after Tehran hiked its own rates on Turkish trucks. Iranian customs also started to delay Turkish trucks, which carry exports to Central Asia.
“Both Azerbaijani authorities and our organization attach considerable importance to this issue.
Historically, countries crossed by trade routes have become wealthy. Azerbaijan wants to be one of these trade corridors,” Şener said.