Turkish transporters welcome Iran’s gesture to open Iraq route
Turkish transporters have been hit by a series of setbacks in their operations en route to Iraq since Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) miltants seized Mosul in June. DHA photoTurkish transporters have welcomed Tehran’s decision to permit Turkish truckers’ passage across its territory en route to Iraq, providing a great relief to exporters affected by safety concerns and turmoil in the country.
Iranian Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said on Aug. 8 that Iran had given permission for Turkish trucks traveling to northern Iraq to pass through Iran due to the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in the region.
The International Transport Companies Association (UND) released a statement on Aug. 9 to greet Iran’s decision, saying the move had stirred hopes of solving the problems transporters are experiencing in the region.
The CEO of the Turkey-based association, Fatih Şener, said the developments were triggered after ISIL’s invasion of Mosul hampered transportation to the region through the Habur customs gate.
“The Iranian minister’s statements is promising for our sector as the Iranian side has given the first signal that it is heeding our initiatives and demands regarding the increasing importance of this route,” he said.
“Our sector was awaiting equal treatment for a long time. It is also pleasant that transport to Iraq will become possible with this practice,” he said.
Şener also thanked Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci for his efforts, as Nematzadeh said Iran had agreed to the move following a request from Zeybekci.
Iraq, which had become Turkey’s second biggest trade partner after Europe, has been gripped by a whirlwind of violence and political turmoil since ISIL seized the second largest Iraqi province, Mosul, on June 9.
According to data recently announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), Turkey’s trade with the country declined by 21 percent in June and 46 percent in July due to increasing security risks that raised transportation costs immensely.
Past problems with Iran
“While the Turkish transporters’ cost was around $2,500 in transportations to central and southern Iraq before ISIL’s offensive, today the cost of transportations to Iraq has climbed to $5,500,” Şener was quoted as saying.
It had not been possible to conduct transports through Iran either, as the shipping charges did not cover the increased costs, he said.
Şener also said the fuel price difference charged on Turkish transporters in Iran, which had been the biggest problem of Turkish transporters in trade with Iran, had made exports to Iraq via the Islamic republic “impossible” as well.
The transporters, mobilized by the UND, had been lamenting that the Iranian government charged an average of $750 per truck and one-way passage for Turkish carriers on the grounds that fuel was more expensive in Turkey.