?zmir Port tender suspension proves costly
A legal objection earlier this year to the sale of the Port of ?zmir has proven costly for area exporters, leaving the latter in a state of limbo.
A top Turkish court in February suspended a privatization tender for the Izmir Port -- won in 2007 by a consortium of Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings and Global Investment Holdings for $1.2 million -- after the Liman-?? union appealed to the court to cancel the tender on grounds that the port is of strategic importance to national security. The court hearing the case in February ordered a stay of execution on the sale, although it has not canceled it.
Businessmen in the area say the suspension of the port sale by the court decision is slowing down the delivery of goods and increasing their cost as they have to pay extra charges for ships that wait at the port for days without being able to load or unload their goods.
Although the privatization sale was made only last year, ?zmir Port was included in Turkey's privatization program in the year 2004. Since that time, the ambiguity in the status of the port has caused difficulties in the management of daily activities.
Businessmen in the area have to pay an occupancy charge for each day a ship is docked in the port but cannot unload. Also, late delivery to customers can cost businessmen a loss of market share, industrialists noted, adding that with each passing day without an effective port administration, the costs are growing.
Mustafa Türkmeno?lu, the head of the Aegean Union of Exporters, said he cannot emphasize enough the importance of logistics in the export business. He said the ships at the Port of ?zmir are being kept waiting for days, which is costing exporters each day the situation persists. Türkmeno?lu estimated the cost of docking fees to the economy since 2004 at $350 million.
The daily docking fee for a ship is usually around $15-20,000, according to Nuh Sefa Bingöl, the head of the ?zmir Customs Consultants' Union, adding that Turkey's economy is paying dearly for this situation.
Aegean Region Industrial Chamber head Tamer Ta?k?n confirmed that the stalled process in the ?zmir privatization port tender is slowing down exports from the region.