Turkey eyes to guide railway investments

Turkey eyes to guide railway investments

ESKİŞEHİR / KONYA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey eyes to guide railway investments

Turkish State Railways Head Süleyman Karaman (C) has traveled with press members at the high speed train from Eskişehir to Konya. AA photo

Turkey’s national railways operator is planning to establish a consultancy company, aiming to take share of railway investments in developing countries that are expected to reach around $100 billion in seven years.

Worldwide railway investments are predicted to reach $1 trillion by 2020, with Middle Eastern and Turkic countries’ projects accounting for $100 billion of this total. Turkish State Railways (TCDD) has applied to the Development Ministry requesting to establish a company to take advantage of this market, TCDD General Manager Süleyman Karaman said on March 29 during his visit to the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir.

TCDD plans to consult abroad projects

Turkey aims to participate in project management and consultancy of prospective investments abroad through the new company.

The country has ambitious aims for its domestic railways as well, seeking to open up its railways to private-sector involvement with a new draft code, in addition to plans to boost investments that are set to reach up to $45 billion in the next 10 years, according to figures provided by the general manager.

Turkey has invested $12 billion in railways since 2004, Karaman said.

After a long-standing period of state monopolization, a new draft code, that would enable private companies to operate their own railway transportation, is currently being discussed by the government.

Commenting on the code, Karaman indicated that the state would still be the main actor within the passenger-carrying sector for a while, saying “I don’t expect anyone to invest $40 million in speed trains to carry passengers.”

The private sector participation is expected to come as the railway lines currently under construction are completed by 2018, he said. The expectation is that the private sector will enter the freight-carrying branch in the beginning, he added.

Karaman said the law, which also includes the establishment of a company under the name of TCDD Transport AŞ for train management units, is anticipated to transform TCDD into a profit-making firm in five years.