Ro-ro service to Syria for exports
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Bülent Aymen owns Sabay Shipping, which will offer Ro-Ro services from İskenderun to Tartus Syria.The Turkish shipping company Sabay Shipping is scheduled to begin Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) services from the southern İskenderun Port to Syria’s Tartus Port for the transportation of Turkish exports to Gulf and Arab countries in an effort to revive the economies of border cities.
“Turkish businessmen in [the southeastern province of] Hatay who used to trade in Syria and the surrounding region through routes in Syria have suffered greatly from the current Syrian crisis. The economy has almost come to a stop in Hatay. We are trying to ease the trade efforts of these Turkish businessmen, especially their trade dealings with Gulf countries, with ferry services,” Bülent Aymen, owner of Sabay Shipping said in a recent interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.
Ro-Ro services will begin Sept. 5 with a registered Egyptian ship making four journeys four times a week.
Compared to the same period in 2011, the last eight months have seen a 12 percent decrease in the export of fresh fruits and vegetables, Aymen said.
“Almost all of Turkey’s TIR [truck] traffic used to go through Hatay to reach Syria and other Arab countries before the Syrian crisis began. However, especially after relations between Turkey and Syria soured and after the embargo, Turkish business owners operating in the southeastern and Mediterranean region of Turkey found themselves in a very difficult position when all trade traffic with Syria was stopped,” Aymen said.
The export of Turkish goods, specifically fresh fruits, vegetables
Aymen said Turkish goods, especially the fresh fruits, vegetables and [legumes] which should be transported for sale immediately, will be carried out by these ferries to the Tartus Port where they will then be loaded onto TIR trucks with Arab license plates in Tartus for transportation to countries like Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Plans for the Ro-Ro service were drawn up following demands from business owners in the southern region of Turkey, Aymen said. The most intense demand came from Hatay and Gaziantep, two cities located along the Syrian border whose economies have suffered because of the Syrian crisis.
“There are already ferry services going from Turkey through the Alexander Port of Egypt for the transportation of Turkish trade goods, however, it takes a very long time for fresh fruits and vegetables to reach their destination this way. These new ferry services will make it much faster and cheaper to transfer these kind of goods,” Aymen said.