TURKEY: Infrastructure manager TCDD has formally opened its Kars logistics centre, created to serve the Baku – Tbilisi - Kars railway linking Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, which opened in October 2017.

Fed by 19 tracks, the rail-served logistics hub covers 400 000 m2 with capacity to handle 412 000 tonnes of cargo. Speaking at the opening ceremony on November 20, Turkish transport minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said the Kars Logistics Centre had been established to ‘revive the historical Silk Road’ and provide an important centre for the transport of freight to and from Russia and Central Asia.

Noting that the centre would serve the BTK line, Karaismailoğlu claimed that trains from as far afield as London and Beijing could serve the complex thanks to recent investment in new infrastructure linking Europe and Asia. Kars would become a regional logistics hub, he believed.

‘We are targeting having 30% of the freight capacity of the middle corridor passing through our country’, he added, reporting that the BTK railway had to date carried 1 262 trains, 26 214 containers and 1∙42 million tonnes of freight by volume.

TCDD plans to develop 25 rail logistics hubs across Turkey of which 12 are already operational. A further two — at the port of Izmir and at Sivas — are under construction, and five more, including one at Çerkezköy on the main line from Istanbul to the Bulgarian border, have received planning approval and are awaiting tendering. The remaining six are still at the planning stage.