Ro-ro operators looks to heal losses in Egypt

Ro-ro operators looks to heal losses in Egypt

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ro-ro operators looks to heal losses in Egypt

Turkey-based Sisa Shipping is one of two companies operating ro-ro’s thorugh Egyptian route and will resume activities on the Suez Canal as of Aug. 10.

With the ongoing security risks in Egypt, Turkish transporters have been putting alternative plans into action to overcome halts to their operations since the beginning of violent clashes hit the country.

One of the two companies undertaking roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) services from Turkey to the Middle East, Sisa Shipping, says it is ready to resume its operations in the coming week, using the Suez Canal, by-passing Egypt and directly arriving in Saudi Arabia thanks to a new plan launched by the Turkish government.

Ro-ro services between the Mediterranean Turkish port of İskenderun and a number of Egyptian ports – mainly Alexandria and Port Said – have been hit by political tension and bloody violence.

Aiming to soothe the losses of the two companies executing transportation and exporters who usally send their goods to the Middle East via Egypt, the Turkish government decided to pay for Suez Canal passage fees and direct these firms to the canal.

“We’re set to initiate our first operation in 27 days [since the first day of the coup] on Aug. 10, which is the third day after the end of Ramadan,” Bülent İpek, the General Manager and one of the partners of Sisa, told the Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview yesterday.

Sisa’s 98 heavy trucks have been kept waiting at Port Said in Egypt since the day after the deposition of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi with the intervention of the Egyptian military.

Agency problems solved

In fact, the trucks were detained by the Egyptian agency that Sisa was collaborating with due to debt claims, but İpek says the agency exploited the safety concerns to take action. “The Turkish economy ministry organized a meeting with us and UN RO-RO [the other company that was making this trip] right after the coup and asked us not to bring any other vehicles to Egypt in order to prevent congestion there. So, we listened to them and couldn’t go to take any action,” İpek said.

Meanwhile, UN RO-RO has been continuing its operations after a short halt.

Now, Sisa will be joining UN in switching to a new agency, one of the largest in Egypt, GAC. With its new agency and its new route passing via Suez, the company is looking forward to compensating its losses. Although the government incentive will take a load off companies’ minds, the implementation will only be temporary, planned until the settling down of internal affairs in Egypt.