Operations at port halted over dispute

Operations at port halted over dispute

Akport Tekirdağ Liman İşletmesi, the largest port in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, was closed down due to a dispute over rents and fines, according to a local maritime sector news portal.

The operator of the port ceased activity over rents demanded by the General Directorate of National Estate and fines issued to ships docking in the harbor by the Tekirdağ Port Authority, the report said.

The port was acquired by the Akkök Group, active in sectors such as chemicals, energy and textiles, in 1997 from the Privatization Agency. The once small pier on the Tekirdağ cost has turned into a main port for the Thrace region after Akkök invested $65 million, according to denizhaber.com.tr.

The company enlarged the port by filling in the sea creating man-made land to handle a total container capacity of 300,000 TEUs in order to increase profitability and efficiency. Problems arose between Akkök and the Finance Ministry when the General Directorate, which functions under the Ministry, demanded extra rent for the land created.

But Akkök refused to pay extra rent as the company transfers 30 percent of the port revenues to the Turkey Maritime Organization by virtue of a privatization contract. General Directorate of National Estate started to issue a fine for every ship docking in Akport Tekirdağ on the basis that the ships docked in an illegal port as it had no construction servitude, because of the unpaid rent.

Commercially inviable

The Akkök Group’s board decided to withdraw from operating the port and returning it to the Privatization Agency after the fines amounted to 4.5 million Turkish Liras making it commercially inviable. 

Another aspect of the problem according to the report is that Akport Tekirdağ has not been granted certificate of title by the General Directorate of National Estate. 

Akport Tekirdağ has a terminal area of 130,000 square-meters and a 2,000-meter-long berth.