A new Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) route to Jordan’s port of Aqaba from Turkey announced by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last Sunday could boost exports to the Middle East, Turkish Exporters Assembly head Mehmet Büyükeksi said Wednesday.
In his visit to Jordan last weekend, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said they are working on a new Ro-Ro route that will enable Turkish export trucks and trailers to reach Middle Eastern countries through ships without passing through the turmoil in Syria.
“I believe thanks to the planned new route, our trade relations with the Arab world will further promote relations. Both countries will significantly benefit from new Ro-Ro voyages,” Buyukeksi said.
“Also I believe that with infrastructure investments around Iskenderun, Ro-Ro voyages will offer significant advantages to the exporters near this region,” he added.
Buyukeksi stressed that the Ro-Ro transport model has significant advantages, such as considerably less voyage time, speedy cargo handling, and low costs which may also enable the diversification of exported Turkish products.
Exporters expect the new Ro-Ro route to not only boost exports but also promote tourism by encouraging Turkish pilgrims en route to Mecca to pass through Jordan.
Mediterranean Exporters Association head Bulent Aymen echoed Buyukeksi’s remarks, stressing that Egypt’s steep price for passing through the Suez Canal renders current Ro-ro voyages between Iskenderun and Saudi Arabia’s port of Duba unfeasible for many exporters.
Aymen said voyages between Aqaba and Iskenderun, Turkey would be a lifesaver for exports, especially for perishable goods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and other products.
However Aymen warned that launch of Ro-Ro voyages alone would not be sufficient and the governments should cooperate to reduce costs down to $3,000 per truck.
“Jordan should reduce its tolls. Our government also should provide financial support to the Ro-Ro transport model. Discounting the cost from $5,000 to $3,000 per truck would make it an attractive choice,” he said.
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