It is predicted that the imaginary Filyos Port, realized 150 years later by Ottoman Sultan Sultan Abdulhamid II, will strengthen Turkey’s dominance in the “blue homeland” and undertake the task of “the gateway to the north” for the country’s trade.
The port in Filyos town of Caycuma district of Zonguldak, with its geographical advantage, has started to serve as a key stop in the Black Sea trade and making a great contribution to the economy of the region.
Zonguldak Bulent Ecevit University Maritime Faculty Research Assistant Dr. Umur Bucak made evaluations to the AA correspondent on the subject.
Stating that the port has an annual container handling capacity of 25 million tons, Bucak said, “Filyos Port will be the northern gate of Turkey’s trade with its high capacity.”
At this point, Bucak pointed out that it is necessary to analyze the competitors of Filyos Port in the Black Sea in order to attract international cargo and ships to the port, and drew attention to the fact that Russia’s Novorossiysk, Romania’s Constanta and Ukraine’s Odessa ports stand out.
Features of Black Sea ports
Bucak explained that the Novorossiysk Port, which has a coastline of 8.3 kilometers, handles 900 thousand TEU containers per year, out of a total load of approximately 142 million tons, at 89 berths with water depths varying between 8-15.6 meters.
Bucak emphasized that the Port of Constanta has a total of 24 berths, of which 10 are dry cargo, 4 are liquid cargo, 2 are vehicles, and 8 are specialized in heavy and large cargo. He informed that 700 thousand TEU containers are handled annually, with a total load of approximately 67 million tons, at the docks with a water depth of 7-19 meters.
Bucak said that Odessa Port, which has a 9-kilometer coastline, has an annual handling capacity of 46 million tons at 54 docks with a water depth of 8.8-11.7 meters, and that approximately 650 thousand TEU containers are handled annually at the port.
Emphasizing that Filyos Port has a very important position compared to its competitors, Bucak continued as follows:
“The Bosphorus has 3 times more traffic than the Suez Canal and 4 times more traffic than the Panama Canal. Filyos Port draws attention in terms of various services such as refueling, maintenance and repair, which is located at a much shorter distance from the Bosphorus, which is the narrow passage with the highest ship traffic in the world compared to its competitors, and for the ships to call. Thus, an important opportunity will arise for the suppliers and maintenance and repair facilities in our country.”
“Turkish Petroleum’s projects at the port should be supported”
Bucak stated that liquid bulk cargoes such as liquefied natural gas, petroleum and oils are handled the most at Novorossiysk Port, which has the highest handling amount of the Black Sea. He said that a 1500-kilometer crude oil pipeline is used in the immediate vicinity of the port, and that the reserves of Kazakhstan and Russia are transferred through this port.
At this point, Bucak emphasized that oil exploration and extraction projects carried out by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in the port area should be supported and made the following assessments:
“The establishment of an integrated pipeline at Filyos Port, which can also be considered as the northern leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Project, will give the port a significant competitive advantage. In recent years, a linear increasing trend has been observed in container transportation in the Black Sea, as a result of investments within the scope of the Belt and Road Initiative. Samsun Port achieved an increase of approximately 67% in container handling in 2020. For this reason, we should insist on railway integration projects at the access point of Filyos Port, one side of which is planned as a container terminal.”
Bucak noted that in the short term, TPAO, which carries out operational activities at the port, made significant contributions to the country’s northern trade, and that this contribution will increase exponentially with the natural gas reserves newly discovered.
Emphasizing that the port will soon be the gateway to the country’s trade to the north due to its proximity to Turkey’s important industrial and commercial centers, Bucak said, “At this point, industry-oriented incentives and free zone structuring will be a triggering force. With a pipeline project, competitive advantage can be gained against our competitors in the north, and access to important centers as oil and natural gas reserves throughout the hinterland can be achieved.”
“Filyos will be preferred in container transportation as well”
Bucak stated that with the railway integration projects that can be carried out on the north-south axis of the country, a direct connection of Filyos Port with Mersin, Iskenderun or Antalya ports can be established, and added saying, “Any project that connects Filyos Port with the Mediterranean can enable us to get a share in both Russia’s maritime transport with China and its trade with Mediterranean countries. Thus, the traffic in the Bosphorus can be relieved, while transportation times can be shortened.”
Emphasizing that Filyos Port will be a preferred port in container transportation, especially considering the increase in container mobility in the Black Sea, Bucak concluded his words as follows:
“An alternative route including multimodal transportation can be provided on behalf of our country, which is kind of bypassed on the sea route of the Belt and Road Initiative. In this context, it is seen that the world’s largest ship operators invest in the developing railway transportation. This shows that in the future, there will be routes where more than one mode of transport will be used, rather than routes that only include sea routes in long-distance transports. For this reason, ensuring railway integration is also very important for the sustainability of the port’s competitiveness.”
Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz