Austria ‘bottleneck’ for Turkish trucks

Austria ‘bottleneck’ for Turkish trucks

Güneş Kömürcüler ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Austria ‘bottleneck’ for Turkish trucks

Turkish Transportation Minister Yıldırım (L) says Turkey’s exports to Europe are affected by the limitations on Turkish trucks to access to Europe. AA photo

Turkey’s exports to Europe may face further difficulties due to the limitations on Turkish trucks to find alternative routes following the closure of a major highway in Austria in December 2012.

“After the termination of the Rolling Road (ÖKOMBI) between the Wels – Szeged line, Hungary has allocated additional transit permits to Turkey but Austria has not,” Fatih Şener, executive board chairman of Istanbul-based International Transporters Association (UND), told the Daily News by phone. Şener added that Austria had become a bottleneck for Turkish transporters while competitors could transit through the same route, but Austrian officials told HDN that this measure was not only focused on Turkish haulers.

Turkish truck drivers have insisted that they still have problems gaining access to Turkey’s leading European markets, mainly Germany and France, through Austria, claiming that Austria has been “unfairly restricting” their passage by declining to offer alternative routes after one of its major highways was closed for almost half a year. Austrian officials said they had offered adequate alternatives and good opportunities for Turkish transporters on the way to Europe.

Turkish side asks for additional permits

The last bilateral meeting, concerning aspects of passenger and road transport between Austria and Turkey, took place in Ankara in April 2013.

“As a compensation measure, the Turkish side claimed an additional 24,000 bilateral permits for road transport, additionally to the already existing 18,000 bilateral permits. The Austrian federal ministry of transport could not grant such a raise of the quota, as it would be contrary to the political goal of shifting goods transport from road to rail,” Peter Tropper, a high-level official at WKO, Austrian Chamber of Commerce, told the Daily News.

Tropper noted that, as an alternative, the Austrian side presented new combined transport methods (in cooperation with the Turkish association UN-RORO) from Fernetti to Salzburg, which are operated by RCA (Rail Cargo Austria).

“We will push further in talks with the relevant parties until this issue is addressed properly,” Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım told the Daily News at a meeting of the OECD in Germany last week.

Turkish officials also called on German officials to help resolve the issue.