World Bulletin/News Desl
The government will start work on the Istanbul Canal project, a nearly 45 kilometer (30 mile) ship canal that will connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara to relieve the Bosporus of heavy ship traffic, as of June, Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım announced on Thursday.
Stating that work on the project is already well under way, speaking at the International Symposium on Rivers and Lakes in the Ottoman Empire in Kayseri, the minister said, “Construction is to begin as of June,” adding, “All the cargo traffic will go through the canal.”
Around 50,000 ships, large and small, pass through the Bosporus each year, and when the canal, which will transform the European part of Istanbul into part of a large island, is finished, cargo vessels such as oil tankers will be directed via the canal to get to the Sea of Marmara.
Noting in his inauguration speech of the symposium that the city of Istanbul is faced with a genuine threat originating from big oil tankers, each of which is like a nuclear bomb, the minister said: “[When the canal is finished] tankers will no longer pose a threat [to Istanbul]. We will reserve the Bosporus for social and cultural activities.”
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has taken some major steps in recent years in order to promote maritime affairs. Vessels engaged in maritime transportation, including on bodies of water such as lakes, have been exempted from paying special consumption tax (ÖTV) when buying oil. A total of TL 2.7 billion ($1.5 billion) in ÖTV subsidies has been given to the maritime
The total weight of goods carried between domestic ports in Turkey in 2002 was no more than 99 million tons, which reached 159 million at the end of 2012. Maritime transportation in the country's inland bodies of water has also substantially increased in the past 10 years. T
hanks to government support for the maritime industry, Turkey's merchant marine fleet presently ranks 15th among the fleets of 30 nations that control 88 percent of the world's marine trade. In the construction of yachts, Turkey ranks among the top three, and in shipbuilding, among the top five countries in the world.
The Istanbul Canal project, which is expected to cost around $40 billion, will make it possible for shipping companies to save an estimated $1.4 billion in total revenue annually as vessels will no longer have to wait in the Black Sea and Marmara Sea.
An estimated 150 vessels will pass through the canal every day. Currently, 51,000 vessels pass through the Bosporus annually, but the new canal will be able to handle 85,000 ships of all sizes annually. The canal is predicted to create 2.5 million new jobs as it evolves. Turkish officials estimate that around 150 million tons of oil and petroleum products pass through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles each year.
The Bosporus is the only maritime outlet to the world's oceans for Black Sea states such as Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. The straits are also an important export route for Russian and Ukrainian grain.
Tens of scholars from various countries ranging from Russia to Sudan will cover, during the two-day symposium, which is organized by Erciyes University with the support of the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Forestry and Waterworks, how the Ottomans managed their inner water reservoirs, lakes and rivers, in various aspects from military needs to irrigation.Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2013, 12:19