Istanbul - Data compiled from the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry reveal that Turkey has taken significant, eye-catching steps in maritime transport, a strategic sector for global trade. One of the important initiatives was the revival of maritime transport with the removal of excise duty, a special consumption tax, for fuel used in vessels in 2004. Up until now, TL 7.2 billion in excise duty has been granted to the maritime transport sector as part of its removal. The freight handled in maritime transport surged 104% in 2018 compared to 2003. The number of passengers served in vessels also soared 40% in the same period while the number of vehicles carried by maritime transport recorded an astronomical rise of 112%. Therefore, the first step taken in 2005 has revived the sector to a great extent, paving the way to expand the share of maritime transport. Freight handled in Turkish ports also rose by 142% last year, compared to 2003 while the freight handled in containers skyrocketed by 335%.
The improvement of bilateral and multilateral relations with countries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea led to an increase in the number of vehicles carried via international Ro-Ro lines. Last year, the number of these vehicles rose by 165% compared to the figures recorded 15 years ago.
EXPANDING CAPACITY OF TURKISH FLEET
The Turkish fleet has not been exempt from growth in the said period. The fleet owned by Turks ranked 19th in global listings with deadweight of 8.8 million in 2003. In last year’s listing, the Turkish fleet claimed the 15th spot with a capacity of 28.6 million tons of deadweight. The growth in the maritime operations has also given momentum to efforts to capitalize on cruiser tourism. İzmir was repetitively awarded the best European cruise destination in 2001, 2012 and 2013. However, developments in the region have reduced the number of cruise tourists coming to Turkey to 214,000 last year. Yet, this year’s figures have begun to signal crucial improvements. Turkish-flagged vessels started to be listed in the white list as part of the Paris memorandum of understanding in 2008.