Burgas, Bulgaria (PortSEurope) May 3, 2021 – Studies have started for the establishment of a Ro-Ro line between Bulgaria’s second largest Black Sea port of Burgas (Bourgas) and port of Karasu in Turkey, the largest Ro-Ro port in the Black Sea. Karasu is Turkey’s main center for transport to Central Europe. It is located in Northwest Turkey, east of Istanbul on the Black Sea coast.
The distance between Karasu and Burgas is 150 nautical miles (to Bulgaria’s main port of Varna it is 180 nautical miles). Preliminary analysis made by Turkish transport officials show expected volume of cargo to reach 960 trailers per week (6 visits per ship with 80 trailers in each direction) or almost 50,000 on an annual basis. In February, a Ro-Ro line was inaugurated between Karasu and Romanian port of Constanta, the country’s largest. A weekly rotation the service makes 3 stops in the port of Constanta, every two days. The Constanta Port is connected to the Danube river via the Danube-Black Sea Canal and allows cargo to reach Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany. The service is run by Sea Lines and the agent of the ship is MLH Shipping Agency. The route will be serviced by a Ro-Ro vessel, with a capacity for up to 155 units and 12 drivers in Covid-19 safe single cabins. The distance between the ports is about 200 nautical miles. The service shortens the transit time for goods moving on the roads between Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe, being a safer and cheaper alternative to road transport. Sea Lines is a Karasu-based leading shipping operator of Ro-Ro and passenger services in the Black Sea. The Port of Karasu is planning an expansion to increase its cargo handling capacity. Managed by IC Ictas Sakarya Karasu Port Investment and Operating SA, the port has 1,108 meters of docking place and 11 meters of water depth in a total area of 250,000 m². It has an annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of general cargo and bulk cargo, 50,000 TEU containers and 110,000 units of Ro-Ro. It contributes around $2 million annually to the Turkish economy. In 2020, freight traffic was lower than predicted due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. 86% of the cargo handled last year was imports and 11% was export. The hinterland connections of Karasu include Kocaeli and Sakarya cities which have high contributions to Turkey’s GDP. Karasu Port’s road and rail connections link it to the country’s major markets, providing customers second to none logistics solutions and quality service. Its position also reduces traffic using the Bosphorus Strait. Port Manager Gökçen Erdem said that the port will develop rail connections and cargo capacity, which will increase to 6 million tons in general cargo and bulk cargo. “We will have an annual capacity of 150,000 TEU in container loads and over 110,000 units including trucks, cars and other vehicles in Ro-Ro services,” he added. Emphasizing that IC Karasu Port has a strategic position in terms of export and import products from the ports of the countries on the Black Sea, with its location in the Marmara Region and on the Black Sea coast, Erdem said, “Thanks to its strategic location, the sea transportation costs of Karasu Port are lower than any port of destination. With the opening of Karasu Port, we can see that the cost advantage it provides directly to the industry is more than $500,000 annually”. Another important transportation infrastructure project related to Karasu Port is the railway connection, Erdem said: “A train set that will arrive at Karasu Port from the Istanbul-Ankara main railway line will be loaded directly from the port and can go to Europe or Russia and its neighbouring countries”. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.