Transport in Turkey

Turkey’s transportation and logistics sector is one of the country’s fastest growing industries—tripling in value since 2002, with an average 20% annual growth rate.  This growth combined with Turkey’s strategic location as a bridge between East and West is creating new opportunities for U.S. exporters of transportation and intelligent technologies.  Turkey is not only a major transit country, but also a key freight destination.  Given Turkey’s increasing population – now close to 80 million – and inward migration to larger cities from rural areas, traffic has become a crucial issue, compelling local municipalities to invest heavily in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).  As a result, Turkey has doubled its transportation industry investment budget from 20% to 40% over the last decade.  This sector is dependent on critical foreign technologies such as ITS, thus providing opportunities for U.S. firms in this area.
Turkey’s Customs Union Agreement with the European Union (EU) and its currently stalled application for full EU membership is pushing the transportation industry to consider new investments in Turkey.  Turkey’s current transportation network is below EU-27 standards.  Even if EU accession does not occur in the near future, Turkey has an ambitious goal to comply with all EU rules and regulations, as a majority of its foreign trade is with Europe.
U.S. firms have a comparative advantage in high-tech products; therefore, they are encouraged to take advantage by forming agreements to act as suppliers of these types of specialized technologies to Turkish firms.
The influence of the transportation sector is expected to increase more in the future, as many highway, railway, and other transportation-related projects are either already underway or expected in order to accommodate the needs of an increasingly industrialized country in the years to come.  Experts believe that “combined transportation” will have a very big share in the transportation industry.  Further on the horizon, due to the increased infrastructural partnership between private and government enterprises, marine and railway freightage will have a big role in cargo moving for combined transportation. The Government of Turkey has committed to new investments in this sector to keep up with future demand which is expected to reach the following targets in 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic:

  • Foreign trade volume to reach $1.1 trillion, with $500 billion in exports and $600 billion in imports.
  • GDP to reach $2 trillion
  • Transported cargo to reach 625 billion tons.

Land Transportation (Roads & Highways)

  • 23,522 km of existing divided roads with plans to increase to 37,000 km
  • 5,748 km of highway construction to be completed by 2023
  • 9,000 bridges/viaducts with total length of almost 600 km to be completed
  • Izmit Bay Suspension Bridge (4th largest in the world with 1,550 m-long center span)
  • Canakkale 1915 Suspension Bridge (will be completed by 2023 on a BOT basis, and be the world’s longest bridge at 3,623 m)
  • 3-floor Istanbul tunnel (will be completed in 2020 at $3.5 billion cost; 110 m below the sea and 6.5 km long: two roads and one metro line)
  • 238 tunnels with total length of 346 km (including metro lines)
  • Kanal Istanbul (will connect Marmara Sea with Black Sea and be an alternative route to the Bosphorus Strait; 45-50 km long, 145-150 m wide on the surface, 125 m wide on the floor, 25 m deep to accommodate large ships)

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