Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“We should take place amongst those ‘leading maritime countries’ within maritime sector”

28.12.2017 / Ankara

TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, pointing out that in 2018 global growth and trade is expected to be better than this year added "The highest global growth rate of the past seven years can be achieved. We also must get our share from that. We should take place amongst those leading maritime countries within maritime sector which is the strategic sector in global trading."​

TOBB Chambers of Maritime Trade Council Meeting held at TOBB Twin Towers with the attendance of TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu and Minister of Transport Maritime and Communication Ahmet Arslan.

Speaking at the opening session of the meeting TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu said that during meeting as well as consulting the future of the sector they would also offer their suggestions.

Stating that they had many favourable outcomes from the consultations that they carried out with the government Hisarcıklıoğlu also said “In relation with finance matter we initially formed TOBB Breathing Credit. With a per-annum rate of 9.90 i.e. the lowest rate within the market we enable firms to use credit. Then KOSGEB granted zero-interest working capital loan. Subsequent to that historic support has been provided to Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF). Exactly 653 thousand firms had stand to benefit from these 3 channels, they have used credit worth of 232 billion lira. In other word, we have provided one in every 2 members of ours with low rate finance.”

Underlining the fact that major problem following financing was employment costs TOBB President continued as “We have initiated employment campaign under the leadership or of our President. Our chambers and commodity exchanges within 81 provinces worked actively and a historic success has been achieved. Nearly 1.5 million of additional employment provided. Firms with cost reduction has won, citizen with a job has won, and entire country with an increased purchasing power has won.

Thirdly, many problems concerning investment climate as we have previously reflected herein councils and YOIKK platforms have been solved. Thereby investments of private sector have accelerated. The most powerful investment increase for the last 2 years has been experienced in the past 3 months. Comparing to last year 55 billion lira more investment made.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that as of first 9 months Turkey had reached a splendid growth performance of 7.4 percent and Minister Arslan had played a major role in all these successful achievements.

Saying “without transportation neither a factory can operate nor products can be delivered to market” Hisarcıklıoğlu thanked to Minister Arslan for his determined works in order to reduce logistic costs.

TOBB President said that despite all internal and external obstacles that they has to face, Turkish economy and real sector were sound and dynamic which their current target was to increase that performance.

Explaining that in 2018 global growth and trade are expected to be better than 2017 Hisarcıklıoğlu said “The highest global growth rate of the past seven years can be achieved. We also must get our share from that. In order to that we should take place amongst those “leading maritime countries” within maritime sector which is the strategic sector in global trading. This, surely is not an easy job. Because where global competition, in fact brutal competition pre-eminently experienced sector is maritime. You should both survive and keep your country’ flag flying over seven seas. Accordingly entire maritime council members representing the sector herein deserve an additional compliment.”

Underlining the fact that Turkish maritime sector has gained decent acceleration thanks to accurate policies applied recently, Hisarcıklıoğlu added as follows; “Thanks to our government initiating special consumption tax free fuel practice as we previously reflected herein council coastal shipping rallied. Over the past decade (2006-2016), coast-trade cargo handlings at the ports has increased from 30 million tonnes to 53 million tonnes. Our merchant marine fleet has also extended. 10 years ago as we were ranking 19th in world, yet last year we have moved up rank number 15. Associated with the expansion of our fleet maritime transport share in our exportation has increased from 47 percent to 57 percent.

The total amount of export that we carried out by maritime transport has reached from 17 billion dollars to 80 billion dollars. The number of active shipyards which was 37 back in 2002 has now reached to 79. There were 18 years to expiration of rent period for shipyards which were rented for 49 years. Upon our request this period has been extended to 49 years yet again. Therefore it was provided our shipyards to see their futures clearly, to make better plans and increase in their credit ratings.

In the meantime, we are expecting same application to be available also for approximately 15 shipyards operate in Black Sea region. Inclusion of ship building sector to 5th zone incentive coverage sector had breath of fresh air. In addition to that we should prepare Maritime Industry Strategy Paper. Thereby ship building and sub-industries also will be included to strategic sectors.

All the revenue stamps and BSMB (Banking and Insurance Transaction Tax) on all the documents apply for the ships and yachts to be registered to Turkish International Ship Registry have been abrogated. Thereby bearing Turkish flag has been promoted. For the incomplete ship investments surety support is provided from Credit Guarantee Fund. In ship building industry we achieved not only being self-sufficient but also being capable of exporting ships.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that with the contributions and supports to maritime sector by the state under the leadership of Minister Arslan Turkish maritime sector ranked amongst first 15 countries worldwide and obtained the tittle of maritime country.

Stating that this has been a significant success Hisarcıklıoğlu also said “We have more grounds to cover. Because maritime is also our national heritage and national wealth. We must maintain the vitality and functionality of maritime sector. Otherwise increasing trading volume will serve foreign shipping companies. In 1 year the amount we paid for transportation cost is nearly 10 billion dollars. Why such a huge amount should be transferred to abroad? Why not such amount would go to our national companies and bring in our national economy? Turkey’s shipping equipment export volume is 50 million dollars. In Europe 22 thousand shipping equipment firm provide employment for 241 thousand people and achieve 12 billion euro worth of exportation. The total production value of 300 European firms which deal only with commercial ship building is 35 billion euros. In accordance with 500 billion dollars exportation target we have to extend, promote our ship building industry, marine transportation, ports further more.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that maritime sector had become one of the rising star of Turkey as well as a world-renowned brand.

Hisarcıklıoğlu concluded his speech as follows “We are in a position where we can build any type of turn-key ship. This year, with 60 percent increase our ship and yacht exportation volume appears to reach 1 billon 350 million dollar level. Within the ship building sector, the state’s achieved saving just by building a single military ship is 300 million Euros. In that case, we need to empower our marine fleet, shipyards, and ship building industry. The key to improve our marine fleet is primarily to empower our shipyards. In order to renew our marine fleet new opportunities, incentives are required. By taking our increasing trade volume with Russia in to consideration, renewal project for our coaster fleet primarily should be put into effect. The major inconvenience stands in our sector’s way obstructing its growth is still funding. Ships with flag of convenience have a more easy access to funding. In this matter there are things that can be done in relation with regulations and practises. We have long way to go in sea tourism area. Especially in cruise tourism we are not getting the share that we deserve.”

-Minister of Transport Maritime and Communication Ahmet Arslan.

Minister of Transport Maritime and Communication Ahmet Arslan said that the meeting with the sector representatives which was held every year gave the opportunity to review the sector.

Underlining the fact that support put into maritime sector by the government cannot be ignored, Arslan also stated "It is historical fact that the region that we live in never forgives non-maritime countries and also nations who turns their back to sea. As seamen we should know better such fact. In every area on the scale of importance that we give to the sea and maritime the country that we live on gains strength."

Arslan noted that Turkey secured its position in the last 15 years and now there is Turkey standing as a world-wide brand in yacht manufacturing, achieved efficient services with its marinas, green ports.

Underlining the fact that in maritime Turkey had reached European Union standards, Arslan quoted that during 2004-2016 period 5 billion 607 million lira worth of support was provided for maritime sector.

Arslan informing about with 29 million deadweight tonnes of capacity Turkey ranked 15th amongst 30 countries which control 94 percent of worldwide merchant marine fleet, added "15 years ago, with 8.7 million deadweight tonnes Turkey was ranking number 17. In 2003 the amount of handled cargo at our ports was 190 million tonnes whereas in 2016 the amount doubled itself and exceeded to 430 million tonnes. Meantime foreign trade freights was 149 million has now reached to 310 million tonnes. In 2016 the nominal value of maritime share in our country’s total foreign trade has increased by around 250 percent reaching from 57 billion dollars to 198 billion dollars comparing to year 2003. The amount of handled container at our ports has reached to from 2.5 million TEU to 9 million TEU. In 2003 where only 9 international regular Ro-Ro line were available by the end of 2016 that number has reached to 19. The vehicles transported through those Ro-Ro lines have increased from 220 thousand to 450 thousand. While the handled cargo in coasting trade was 28 million now it has exceeded to 53 million 300 thousand."

Highlighting the number of active shipyard increased from 37 to 79, Arslan said "the installed capacity of these shipyards have increased from almost 600 thousand tonnes to 4.5 million deadweight tonnes. In 2004 approximately 15 thousand people were employed in the shipyards whereas by the end of 2016 this number has reached to 30 thousand people. When the related business lines also taken into consideration, supposing that 90 thousand people are being employed in this manner, therefore in overall we are providing direct employment for 120 thousand people."

Underlining the fact that maritime sector to be able to take its rightful place more hard working effort is needed Arslan also added that in order to clear the way for the sector the number of formed national and international regulations in 15 years has reached to 351. 

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