Railroads to be polished to welcome private firms

Railroads to be polished to welcome private firms

Railroads to be polished to welcome private firms

Turkey’s first fast train went into service four years ago, operating between Ankara and neighboring Eskişehir. AA photo

Turkey’s main railway company plans to invest more than 20 billion Turkish Liras ($11.1 billion) over the next three years, as attempts to open up Turkish railways to private sector involvement speed up.

Prior to privatization, the General Directorate of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) plans to spend 20.3 billion liras on vehicle repairs, production, and railroad and naval transportation, between 2013 and 2015.

A draft code, presented to Parliament late on March 6, aims to establish a company under the name of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) Transport AŞ for train management units, and also to empower third parties to build their own railway infrastructure and to become infrastructure operators on these railways. The investments will accelerate further in upcoming years, with amounts almost doubling in 2014 and 2015, reaching almost 8 billion liras annually.

The rise will primarily be due to increases in direct railroad investments.

Eight new projects

The 4.7 billion lira investment earmarked for 2013 is planned for eight projects. Among these will be one project for production, five projects dedicated to railroad transportation, and two projects dealing with naval transportation.

Many ongoing projects will be finalized during this forthcoming three-year period. The ongoing projects which will be completed include two in the area of manufacturing, 19 in railroad transportation, and one in naval transportation. Four banks are anticipated to provide loans totaling 900 million liras for railroad transportation. The Islamic Development Bank will provide 178 million liras, the World Bank 38.7 million liras, the European Investment Bank 479.6 million liras and China Eximbank 203 million liras.

Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said earlier this month that Turkey’s annual investments in railways had jumped to 5 billion liras from 230 million last year, emphasizing that it totaled 26 billion liras in the last 10 years. The minister said prices for railway transportation could drop. “The routes will remain in the hands of the state, but those who wish to will be able to use them, just like airports and highways,” Yıldırım said.