Tension between Turkey and Egypt puts exporters, shippers in tight spot

HATAY: Exporters and shippers have difficulty in trade due to long-running tension between Turkey and Egypt following situations in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq.

Shippers say goods will be exported to the Middle East from the Suez Canal if the relations between the counties are not impoved, which increases the cost. They also state that the government cancelled its $ 1,200 support for the shippers and demand implementation of the support again.

For the last three years, Turkish exporters have been delivering goods to the Middle East counties such as Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia through Egypt due to conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Ro-Ro ships loaded with goods taken from the factories from ports in Mersin and Iskenderun. The ships take the goods to Port Said. Semi-trailer trucks, arriving the Res Sea through Egypt, and arrive at Duba Port by the Ro-Ro ships. The trucks later distribute to Middle East counties overland.

In October, 2014, Egypt decided that it will not renew a three-year transit-trade agreement with Turkey in the latest evidence of worsening relations between the two countries. When Turkish trucks had to give up on the route via Syria to Jordan and countries on the Arabian Peninsula due to the civil war in Syria, Turkey signed in April of 2012 a memorandum of understanding with Egypt for the establishment of a transit transportation route connected by the ro-ro Line.

The Ro-Ro Line, which became active at the end of April of 2012 between the two countries, allowed Turkish exporters to bypass the Suez Canal and to keep the increase in their transportation costs in exports to the region at a reasonable level, an increase of $1,000 per truck as compared to the Syrian route. The agreement will reportedly expire in April next year.