New railroad line in northwest links DP World port to Silk Road

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 31.07.2019 00:15

A railway line connecting the DP World port in northwest province Kocaeli's Körfez district to the Caspian Sea and then to China via the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway opened yesterday.

DP World Yarımca port, which has been operating since 2015 in the Gulf of Izmit within the boundaries of Kocaeli's Körfez district, has been connected to the railway network, thus ensuring uninterrupted transport to China. Thanks to the project, the port was linked to the Caspian Sea via the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway, and then to China.

The railway connection, whose construction started in January and was completed in a short period of six months, entered into service with a ceremony that saw the participation of Transport and Infrastructure Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan; Arda Ermut, president of the Presidency Investment Office and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA); Ali İhsan Uygun, general manager of Turkish State Railways (TCDD); Erol Arıkan, general director of TCDD Transportation; Kocaeli Gov. Hüseyin Aksoy; Kocaeli Metropolitan Mayor Tahir Büyükakın; Körfez Mayor Şener Söğüt; and executives of relevant institutions in the Gulf of İzmit.

In his opening speech, DP World Yarımca CEO Kris Adams stated that the railroad connected to China via the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku line and the Silk Road, stressing that Turkey, as a rapidly developing country with a young population of 80 million, a robust local infrastructure investment environment and high growth rates, holds a significant place in the global network.

‘We will make a total

investment of $600 million'

Adams stated that they made a vital investment in Turkey's logistics field with this project. "With an additional $50 million in the next six months, we will make a total investment of $600 million in DP World Yarımca, which was established with a cost of more than $550 million," Adams said. Turhan noted that DP World succeeded in connecting the giant Yarımca port to the main railway line via a 1-kilometer railway that it built with its own means. "This service is also a first in our country in terms of our private sector. This modern port has the opportunity to serve every part of the country with a railway connection," he added.

Minister Turhan emphasized Turkey's position as a natural base in terms of logistics, adding they started a full transportation mobilization in this scope, describing transportation as the main wheel of both social welfare and economic structures in the modern world. "In today's world where everything is intertwined, you will not be functional unless you ensure the integration of all modes of transport in high quality and safety," he continued. "We build roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, ports, railways and transportation infrastructure on a global scale. I want to stress that we care about bringing all of these together and ensuring their integration as much as the business itself."

Turhan said that with the modern port, there is an "opportunity to serve in every part of the country with a railway connection. This also includes the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway line, which we attach great importance to as the government. If we look at the issue from a wider point of view, essentially the Yarımca port provides a direct connection from China to London through this line." The minister also recalled that the government has invested TL 133 billion in railways in this scope. "Thus, after 1950, an average of 18 kilometers of railways were built annually, and since 2003, we have managed to build an average of 135 kilometers of railways annually," he noted.

Investment Office President Arda Ermut stressed the importance of the DP World investment, which they had been a part of since the beginning. "We are here to celebrate the connection of the port, which we brought to our country's economy in 2006 together with all of our state institutions, to the railway via a 1-kilometer line," Ermut said. "Today, we are not only opening a railway line. We have witnessed a moment that ensures the connection of Yarımca to every region of Turkey. We have also contributed to a project that will connect Yarımca, initiated and supported by China under the Belt and Road Initiative, to the Chinese line."

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