Bati Rail, the Turkish agent for the Ukrainian- based Ukrferry company, has reached an agreement with the TCDD rail authorities to establish a rail wagon loading and unloading facility in the western port of Derince. Construction work on the 6,000 sq m facility, which will be designed to handle Russian rail wagons of 1,520 mm gauge, is due to start soon and should be completed by the end of the year.

According to Bati Rail’s president, Captain Caner Aydin: “Once the new terminal is established, it will take only two days to discharge and load the wagons. This investment will also create opportunities to increase the capacity of the vessels.”

The rail wagon terminal, to be operated by Bati Rail, will be located around 1 km from the port, and its construction will involve the laying of about 4 km of Russian-gauge rail track. Total wagon capacity will be around 200 units, and it will be possible to load up to 20 wagons simultaneously. While the vessel owners will benefit from the 50% reduction in the length of port stays, Captain Aydin believes that Turkish exporters will gain from the investment being made. At present, the Ukrferry service between the Black Sea port of llychevsk and Derince calls every 10 days, but the intention is to move to a weekly frequency once the new rail terminal is operational, providing extra capacity for export voyages, which generally sail full.

Less costly

According to Capt Aydin: “Rail is 50% cheaper than trucking and 30% less costly than containers. Also the weight limit, 68 tonnes, and 136 cu m capacity per wagon are higher, so this is a particularly suitable mode for project and construction cargoes.” Once the terminal is completed, Derince will be recognised by the Ukrainian railways as a station. As a result, SMGS bill of lading documents can be issued to Turkish exporters and importers from Derince port. Around 250,000 tonnes of rail cargo was moved through Derince last year, on about 40 vessel calls, and a significant increase is predicted this year. Turkish construction companies with projects in Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States countries are among the biggest users of this service.

Bati Rail is also working on another interesting project. It hopes to set up a road-rail terminal in Turkey, in partnership with TCDD. While still at the project stage, the company hopes that it will be
possible to start up RoadRailer services between Germany and Turkey in the foreseeable future.

Bati Rail is a division of Bati Shipping and Trading, whose main activity is forwarding. The company is looking to diversify this area of its business by providing supply-chain management services as a value-added product. Bati has recently made an important breakthrough in this area by signing a deal with French roof tlle producer Onduline. Under the agreement, Bati imports Onduline products to Turkey from around Europe, including France, Spain and Italy, undertaking all the necessary customs clearance. The goods are them held in Batimanaged warehouses prior to local distribution to final customers.

This is a new type of contract for Bati, which started working with Onduline earlier this year, and the company says it aims to target more of this business in the future. According to Captain Aydin: “Classic forwarding in Turkey is static, so we have to bring something different to the market.”
LLOYDS LIST June 2003 Turkish Shipping