Türkiye’s transportation and logistics sector is among Türkiye’s fastest growing industries. In addition to being a major transit hub, Türkiye is also a key freight destination. Given Türkiye’s increasing population – now over 84 million – and inward migration to larger cities from rural areas, traffic has become a critical problem, compelling local municipalities to invest heavily in ITS and Smart Mobility. This sector is dependent on critical foreign technologies such as ITS, thus providing opportunities for U.S. firms.
Türkiye’s Customs Union with the EU is pushing the transportation industry to consider new investments in Türkiye. Türkiye’s current transportation network is below EU-27 standards though Türkiye is making a concerted effort to comply with all EU rules and regulations, as a significant portion of its foreign trade is with Europe.
U.S. firms have a comparative advantage in high-tech products and are therefore encouraged to form supplier agreements for specialized technologies used in the development of Türkiye’s transportation and logistics sector.
The transportation sector’s influence in Türkiye is expected to increase over time, as many highway, railway, and other transportation-related projects are either underway or expected to break ground to accommodate the needs of an increasingly industrialized country. “Combined transportation” may assume a larger share in the transportation industry, and due to an increase in public-private partnerships, marine and railway freight may play a larger role in cargo transport. Türkiye has committed to new investments in this sector to keep up with anticipated future demand.
The GoT has typically used the BOT method of funding for transportation projects and we anticipate BOT will be used to fund the following major transportation projects:
- The $3.5 billion Grand Istanbul Tunnel project will be 110m (361 ft) below sea level, 6.5 km (3.7 miles) long, and will be comprised of three floors, two roads, and one metro line, which will connect the city’s European and Asian sides. The project is expected to be completed in 2027.
- Canal Istanbul is a project designed to connect the Marmara Sea with the Black Sea. According to the GoT, the project will function as an alternative route to the Bosphorus Strait to decrease traffic and freight congestion. Canal Istanbul is expected to be 45km (nearly 28 miles) long, 145-150m (492 ft) wide on the surface, 125m (410 ft) wide on the floor, and 25m (82 ft) deep to allow large ships access to the sea. It is currently valued at $15 billion. Several project tenders have reportedly been awarded and more are expected to be announced in 2023. The project is expected to be completed five years after construction begins.
Türkiye currently has 13,128 km of rail with 1,460 km of high-speed lines and 11,668 km of conventional rail. More than 6,382 km of rail lines are signalized, and 5,753 km are electrified. The GoT has prioritized improvements to the rail sector as follows:
· Complete 8,212 km of high–speed rail and 754 km conventional railroads by 2028.
· Complete Istanbul-Ankara super high-speed rail by 2028.
· Increase the railroad network to 28,590 km by 2053.
· Increase the high-speed rail connection from eight to 52 cities.
- Increase passenger railroad transportation share from %1 to 6% and cargo railroad transportation share from %4 to 22% by 2053.
- Liberalization of the rail system with private transportation companies able to transport cargo in private wagons.
- Develop total rail length of 18,000 km by 2023, with new investments in high-speed trains and conventional lines. Türkiye has ongoing rail projects involving 4,257 km of line, consisting of 2,050 km of high-speed rail, 1,786 km of speed rail, and 429 km of conventional lines. In addition, there are ongoing rail projects to signalize 2,323 km and electrify 987 km of lines. New metro lines/light rail systems/trams will be constructed in larger cities.
Roads & Highways
The GoT has also prioritized improvements to roads and highways infrastructure. The GoT is seeking to increase the existing 28,647 km of divided roads to 38,000 km, and current 3,633 km of highway network to 8,325 km by 2053, as well as develop the infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Marine transportation remains crucial given the volume of Türkiye’s ports. The GoT has prioritized improvements to the marine sector by:
- Increasing existing 219 ports to 255 and constructing dry ports to Tekirdag, Mersin, Iskenderun, and Kocaeli by 2053.
- Increasing the number of logistics centers from 13 to 26 by 2053.
- Increasing combined/multimodal/intermodal types of transportation.
- Increasing the number of marinas.
- Emphasizing sustainability and efficiency through projects like “Green Port.”
For further information on the transportation technology and equipment sector, contact:
Automotive & Smart Mobility, Marine, Rail and Road Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service Türkiye