Kanal Istanbul a must to ease heavy vessel traffic, says transport minister
Turkey needs to build Kanal Istanbul as an alternative seaway as the Bosphorus Strait’s capacity will not be able to handle the increasing vessel traffic in years to come, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu has said.
Presently, more than 40,000 vessels are passing through the Bosphorus Strait, but this number is expected to increase to 70,000 in the coming years, Karaismailoğlu told a group of journalists yesterday.
“That many vessels cannot use the strait. Building Kanal Istanbul is a must in order to find a solution to those problems,” the minister said, adding that works on the construction of the new seaway are ongoing.
He added that the biggest priority is to build Kanal Istanbul in a way that it won’t place extra burden on the central government budget.
“We are also working on the project’s financing issues. We are conducting work on a financing model and have made some progress. Meanwhile, talks with the world’s largest infrastructure companies are currently underway,” Karaismailoğlu said without providing further details.
Under the Kanal Istanbul project, an artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea will be opened. The 45-kilometer canal to be developed on the west of the city center on the European side of the city is proposed to have a capacity of 160 vessel transits a day.
Initially, the cost of the Kanal Istanbul project was put at some $15 billion, Karaismailoğlu said, adding that this figure has not changed and that the best bidder will win the tender when it is launched.