Turkish exporters to transport goods via Iran if no new Egypt deal, says sector representatives
Ceyhun Kuburlu - ISTANBUL
“We’ll start to transport our goods via Iran by April 22 if our deal with Egypt expires and is not renewed,” said the head of the Turkey-based International Transporters’ Association (UND), Çetin Nuhoğlu. DHA PhotoTurkish exporters have inked deals on a new route through Iran to transport their goods to Gulf markets if Egypt does not renew its deal with Turkey on April 22, according to sector representatives.
“We’ll start to transport our goods via Iran by April 22 if our deal with Egypt expires and is not renewed,” said the head of the Turkey-based International Transporters’ Association (UND), Çetin Nuhoğlu.
The current transportation agreement, which was signed between Turkey and Egypt in 2012, will expire on April 22. The agreement allowed the use of Egyptian seaports for the transport of Turkish foodstuffs, electrical appliances and textile products to markets in the Gulf. The Egyptian government has, however, reportedly decided not to renew the agreement, although there has not been an official notification, according to sector representatives. Turkish exporters have been looking for alternatives for a while.
“Iran is a good alternative for us to transport goods to the Gulf… Actually we have wanted to keep our Egyptian route online, but we needed to focus on the Iran route as we didn’t see any positive step from the Egyptian authorities to renew the deal. The transportation via Iran will start soon,” Nuhoğlu said.
He added the deal with Egypt was also good for the Egyptian economy as well.
“Egyptian companies are able to reach several European countries by using Ro-Ro services to our southern port of Mersin. As far as we have known, many Egyptian Ro-Ro companies want to keep that online,” Nuhoğlu said.
He noted some 6,000 trucks transported goods to Gulf countries via Egypt annually.
“Our deal with Iran has become a good alternative for us, although we actually want to have deals with both Egypt and Iran,” he said.
“Iran enables us to have a good alternative. Some six trucks will start test drives this week. All trucks will be directed to Iran by April 22,” Nuhoğlu added.
Egypt ‘has not made an official notification’
Head of the Turkish-Egyptian Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) Zuhal Mansfield said the Egyptian authorities have not made any official notification about the future of the deal. She added both Turkey and Egypt have many reasons to renew the deal.
“Egypt has signed an internationally recognized agreement for years. I don’t think Egypt will cancel the deal arbitrarily,” Mansfield said, adding the two countries should not mix politics with economic and trade ties.
New route via Iran
According to UND representatives, Turkish trucks will enter Iran through the Doğubeyazıt border. They will use three different routes within Iran to go to the Gulf countries. The trucks will go to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia via Iran’s Abadan. There will be Ro-Ro lines from the city of Bushehr to Dammam for Bahrain and Qatar and from the city of Bandar Abbas to Bandar Lengeh for the U.A.E. market.
How Turkey’s transportation to Gulf countries has changed over time:
- Until 2002, the main transportation route to the Gulf countries was via Iraq.
- After the Iraqi war, Syria became the new route.
- After a civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, the transportation route via Egypt was created.
- With a deal in 2012, the transportation became possible for Turkish trucks via Egypt.
- If Egypt does not renew the deal, the only route in the region for Turkish transporters will be Iran by April 22.
- In line with the deals with Iran, the test drives begin this week.