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Turkish sea transport firm to buy new ship with EBRD loan

By Olga Rosca

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Alternative Transport is investing in Meleq, a new €55.5 million vessel to operate the route connecting Istanbul and Trieste.

The EBRD is providing a boost to the Turkish shipping industry with a €27.5 million loan to fast-growing sea transportation firm Alternative Transport that will help it realise its international potential.

The loan will finance the acquisition of a new roll-on/rolloff (ro-ro) cargo ship.

Alternative Transport is investing in a new €55.5 million vessel with a capacity of 283 trailers to carry wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks, trailers or railroad cars that are driven on and off the vessel.

In addition, a €4.5 million junior loan will be provided under the EBRD's Green Logistics Programme, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility. Turkey’s largest lender Isbank is extending a parallel loan of €16 million.

The new cargo ship will enable the firm’s much-needed expansion on the route connecting the Istanbul port of Haydarpasa and the north-eastern Italian port city of Trieste, increasing profitability and operating efficiency.

The EBRD has previously financed the acquision of the other three ships on this route.

Sea shipping is the leading mode of transport for Turkish international trade, both by value and volume. Over 60 per cent of imports and 55 per cent of exports, by value, are seaborne. Backed by Turkey’s strong trade relationship with Europe, the sector is continuing to grow rapidly. Trucks heading to western Europe are increasingly turning to sea transport which provides lower costs and more diverse, more predictable and more efficient services.

Ro-ro vessels form an integral part of developing the “motorways of the sea”, an international vision to transform shipping into a genuine, more environmentally friendly alternative to overcrowded land transport.

Sue Barrett, EBRD Director for Transport, said: “Although the importance of ro-ro transportation between Europe and Turkey is increasing rapidly, shipping companies in Turkey suffer from scarce access to long-term financing. This is our second transaction with Alternative Transport, a truly international sea transport firm, as we believe shipping operations are not only a successful business but also support a cleaner, safer and more efficient transport system for the country’s booming trade.”

The founder and chairman of Alternative Transport, Ahmet Musul, said: “We are pleased with the support of EBRD, which helps to make possible the execution of our strategy to develop intermodal solutions linking major European ports. On top of that we keep developing our infrastucture; we invest in new vessels, trucks, warehouses and own ports to the benefit of our customers.”

Alternative Transport was established in 2013 by Ahmet Musul, who also founded Ekol, an integrated logistics company which provides international freight, warehousing, domestic distribution, foreign trade, customs and supply chain management services in 15 countries. Building on an over 20-year experience of its sister company, Alternative Transport gained a market share of as much as 18 per cent in its first year of operations.

Helping boost Turkey’s sea freight transport is part of the EBRD’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach which puts investments that bring environmental benefits at the heart of the Bank’s mandate. The EBRD is aiming to increase the level of its financing in the sphere of sustainable resources to 40 per cent of the annual business by 2020.

The Bank is a leading investor in Turkey. It started investing in the country in 2009 and has to date invested over €9 billion in the country through more than 220 projects across many sectors and has mobilised nearly €20 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. Some 98 per cent of the Bank’s investments in Turkey are in the private sector.

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