A leading Turkish intermodal transport company has signed a deal extending its use of Italy’s Trieste Port until 2041, offering a convenient alternative to Turkish exporters to send their goods to Europe.
U.N. Ro-Ro will continue its services from the Pendik and Ambarlı ports in Istanbul and the southern Mersin port to northeastern Italian province of Trieste, the company’s CEO Selçuk Boztepe told reporters invited to the Italian port to announce the deal over the weekend.
“The ‘Free Port of Trieste’ status means that our customers can reach Europe without a limitation on the transit permits,” Boztepe said.
The Trieste Port enjoys the status of “Free Port,” declared first in 1891 and made international with the Paris Peace Treaty signed after the World War II. According to the status, goods arriving from abroad by sea may transit freely and be sent to their foreign destinations. Hence, Turkish trucks and trailers delivered by U.N. Ro-Ro to Trieste Port can travel within the European Union and beyond without any restrictions.
The use of the Trieste Port allows Turkish logistics companies to avoid problems such as highway transit documents, heavy traffic in highways and customs, traffic restrictions, visa problems of Turkish drivers and high operating and investment costs, according to Boztepe.
“The Trieste Port is the most important gateway in Europe both for us and our customers, the Turkish transporters,” said Boztepe, adding that the Turkish logistics companies are increasingly preferring the train delivery instead of using their truck in long distances, and the company is planning its investments accordingly.
“Since 2013 we have made an investment of 20 million euros in the Trieste Port, and thanks to the investments made until now, our operating rights have been extended until the year 2041. We can currently operate six train services per day,” added the CEO.
The train connections made via Trieste are Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Finland and Russia. U.N. Ro-Ro will soon add Eastern Europe and new cities in the Ruhr region of Germany and Northern Italy to these destinations.
In the intermodal system, Turkish logistics companies deliver their trailers, with or without the trucks, to one of the company’s ports, and receive it wither at the target port, or one of the destinations they are delivered via freight trains. In addition to other advantages, the system also reduces the delivery costs by 5 percent to 30 percent, depending on the destination.
Boztepe said the company saw its highest-ever capacity use with 82 percent in 2017, and with the expected recovery in Turkish exports, the company forecasts the number will rise to 84 percent in 2018.
Almost 80 percent of the load that U.N. Ro-ro carries is trucks and trailers, with the remaining 20 percent being containers and non-standard load such as boats, stands, etc. The company is focusing on markets that Turkish logistics companies carry the goods by trucks, Boztepe stated.
“In 2010, 55 percent of the goods sent to those markets were carried by trucks, while ro-ro usage was 55 percent,” he added.
“Last year, this ratio changed to 55 percent via ro-ro to 45 percent via land. Our 2022 forecast shows that 65 percent of Turkish exports to those markets will be sent via ro-ro companies,” Boztepe added, noting that U.N. Ro-ro is the sector leader in Turkey among a total of three ro-ro companies with a 62 percent market share.
U.N. Ro-Ro was established in 1994 by 48 Turkish freight operators as UND Ro-Ro to overcome the logistical issues the companies faced due to the civil war in Yugoslavia, while the company’s name was changed in 2004.
In 2014, the company was bought by a partnership of Esas Holding and the Actera Group. Currently, Actera owns 60 percent of the company, while Esas Holding holds the remaining 40 percent.