Already, every week a 14,000 TEUer sails through the Dardanelle's into the Sea of Marmara, immediately south of the Black Sea, to serve one terminal in the Istanbul-Ambarli area and another one at Izmit Bay.
The present average capacity of all box vessels sailing between the Mediterranean and the Far East is 8,400 TEU. The average Med port handles ships of 4,100 TEU, reports Fort Lauderdale's Maritime Executive, citing a Dynamar study.
By 2023, when the Turkish Republic is to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the country's overall container port capacity is expected to be 30 million TEU, handling 80 per cent of its trade which will amount to US$500 billion in annual value. This represents an increase from $135 billion and 11 million TEU capacity in 2011.
Shipping consultancy Dynamar in its "Container Volumes and Terminal Capacity in the Mediterranean" study notes Turkey's tremendous growth in terminal capacity, since the 2009 fall of Lehman Bros that triggered the world economic downturn.
The largest share of new capacity continue to be developed in Turkey, currently the strongest growing Mediterranean economy, said the report. Out of the minimum seven new terminal projects in this country, four quite large ones with a combined ultimate capacity for 7.4 million TEU are effectively being built on the shores of the near internal Sea of Marmara between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
At full build-out these terminal will increase capacity by nearly 80 per cent, handled by the 11 existing terminals.
On the Aegean coast, Izmir has had Turkey's biggest container terminal since 2009, but now faces competition from Aliaga/Nemrut Bay 50 kilometres to the north. One of those is equipped with double-boom gantries, said the report, adding that a third Nemrut Bay terminal, to be operated by APM Terminals, will commence operations shortly and Candarli, another new Aegean port started in mid-2010.