Hakkı Akil 20.09.2013
It is a great pleasure for me to attend the Genoa Shipping Week and to be able to address this distinguished audience.

This city is synonymous with maritime history. Genoese shipmen have ruled the waves throughout centuries. Actually, centuries ago, together with the Venetians, they led the way for lasting Turkish-Italian interaction. As such, I think it is much fitting that Genoa hosts this important event.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

No matter what the developments in land and air transport are, shipping is still by far the only really cost effective method of bulk transport over great distances. This has always been the case, and is truer today. And when considering today’s magnitude of the relationship between producers, manufacturers and markets, the importance of the world shipping industry becomes clearer.

Although numbers vary, it is nevertheless generally accepted that more than 90% of global trade is conducted by ship freight. The amount of cargo transported by sea has folded in the last fifty years. Despite the unfavourable conditions in the world economy, today it is approaching 9 billion tons.

The shocking aspect of this statistic, however, is about its prospect for the next fifty years. Studies predict that if the global economic growth trend remains more or less steady, then the amount of cargo carried by sea will reach 23 billion tons by 2060.

Developing countries continue to account for the largest share of global seaborne trade with 60% of all goods loaded.

But this is not their sole contribution to the industry. As a matter of fact, these countries are expanding their participation in a range of different maritime businesses. They already hold strong positions in ship scrapping, ship registration and the supply of seafarers, and they have growing market shares in more capital-intensive or technologically advanced maritime sectors such as ship construction and ship owning.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Maritime transportation is the most popular method of transportation for Turkey’s exports and imports, with respective shares of about 50% and 53%. These numbers are modest when taking Turkey’s competitive advantage in maritime transport into account. We are a country surrounded by seas on three sides with coastal borders stretching 8,333 km.

There is still much room for improvement.

Our impressive economic development, especially in the last decade provides an excellent ground for such improvement. After all, Turkey is a huge and growing market, with a GDP approaching one trillion dollars. It is the World’s 16th, and Europe’s 6th largest economy; projected to be 2nd in Europe in 2050. Today our per capita income is approaching 12,000 dollars. Turkey’s annual trade volume is 342 billion dollars. In fact Turkey is the fastest growing economy among OECD members during 2011-2017 with an annual average growth rate 6,7 %. We have received 93,6 billion dollars of foreign direct investments during the last 8 years.

Armed with such a favourable economic arsenal, we, in Turkey are working tirelessly to improve our overall international maritime standings. Our recent and perhaps not so impressing maritime standards have been improved rapidly by appropriate training and thorough control. As a result, Turkish vessels were transferred from the black list to the grey list in 2006 and from there to the white list in 2008 in the port state controls conducted in accordance with the Paris Memorandum.

The Turkish maritime fleet has reached a capacity of 30,3 million deadweight tons while the growth rate for the world is 8,4%. We have 1,469 ships having more than 1,000 gross register tonnages.

In the past ten years, we have doubled the number of our ship yards that reached 71. We are now the world’s 6th biggest ship builder.

An important step has been taken in cutting off bureaucracy. Turkey has signed the agreements for mutual recognition of relevant documents with 30 countries, which will enable Turkish firms of the maritime sector to work for the ships and vessels of the countries most advanced in this sector and vice versa.

Let me also denote our yacht related developments. Today we are the world’s 3rd biggest yacht builder. We are a country with modern and well equipped international marinas and ports along the coastline which play an important role for Turkish tourism with the services they provide for a large number of domestic and foreign yacht owners.

The Turkish government aims at further developing the shipbuilding industry through the new investment incentive system. Those who wish to invest in Turkish maritime transport shall benefit from the following incentives.

- Value added tax and customs duty exemption;
- A 4% of corporate tax will be applied instead of 20%, until 40% of the value of total investment is reached;
- The social security premium will be paid by the government instead of the employer for 7 years;
- There will be interest rate support for credits both in Turkish Lira and foreign currency.

All these developments are part of an ambitious vision for 2023, the centennial founding of the Republic. The main targets set include:

- Connection of main ports with railways;
- Transfer ports in the Aegean/Mediterranean/Marmara/Black Sea;
- Having at least one of the top 10 ports of the world by 2019;
- 32 million TEU handling capacity for container transport;
- 10 million deadweight tons shipbuilding capacity;
- 100 marinas with 50,000 yacht capacity;
- 16 new large-scale logistic centres.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The maritime industry should be another area where Turkey and Italy must closely cooperate. Our immediate vicinity, the Mediterranean, is one of the most important stages of global economy. 30% of the world’s maritime trade is done in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, 470 million people, which is 7% of the world’s population live here. 11% of the world’s GDP is produced in the Mediterranean.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) surveys show that Italy and Turkey have the world’s 13th and 14th biggest maritime fleets with a global market share of 1,8% and 1,7 % respectively.

This is not enough. It does not reflect our true potential. These numbers should grow higher. There is absolutely no reason why it should not.

Italy is one of the most important trade partners of Turkey, thanks to their geographical and strategic positions and excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.

As of 2012, Italy was Turkey’s 5th largest supplier and 7th largest export destination. In the first seven months of 2013, Italy became Turkey’s 4th largest export destination and 5th largest supplier.

Turkish marinas and ports provide excellent cooperation opportunities for Italian firms in terms of tourism and foreign trade. Turkish ports, on the other hand, provide various opportunities for access of Italian goods to nearby markets like Ukraine, Russian Federation, Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East.

Many important Italian transportation and maritime firms such as PERINI NAVI, ALBINI & PITIGLIANI S.P.A., AZIMUT BENETTI SPA, TARROS SHIPPING AND TRANSPORT S.A., COMUZZI & SBAIZ TRANSPORTI S.R.L and SAIPEM S.P.A. are already present in the Turkish market to get advantage of various opportunities. We expect more Italian firms to invest in the transportation and logistics sector with a special focus on maritime sector.

Turkey and Italy are natural partners in a wide range of issues. There is no reason why cooperation in the maritime sector could have a bigger slice in this collaboration. It is mutually beneficial and the bilateral political atmosphere cannot be any favourable.

I am confident that representatives of the Turkish and Italian maritime sectors will not miss this opportunity.

Thank you.


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