Yildirim’s first port concession in Italy, at the former Tàranto Container Terminal site, has finally been confirmed. What does the Turkish group plan for its newly-named Terminal San Cataldo?
The agreement with the local port authority (AdSP del Mar Ionio) was inked last November, but confirmation was delayed by objections from local bidders. Yildirim’s 49-year concession takes effect from September this year.
Robert Yuksel Yildirim, President and Managing Director of Yildirim Holding, said: "For the coming months we will not see any containers arrive. Until the end of this year we will be working on revamping the cranes and other handling equipment at the terminal and also embarking on a marketing and promotion camapaign to attract shipping line traffic."
Sergio Prete, President of AdSP del Mar Ionio, said: “From the operational standpoint, activities will commence in January next year and the intention is to attract 200,000 TEU in the first year, with the aim of reaching 1M TEU a year after five years. The operator intends to build capacity to 2.5M TEU within the ambit of the next five years."
The investment plan presented by Yilport includes a budget of €400M for revamping and new equipment.
Terminal San Cataldo will function not only as a container terminal - both a gateway and transhipment role - but will also cater for general cargo using mobile harbour cranes and ro-ro traffic.
The gateway role for containers will be possible after RFI, the Italian rail infrastructure authority, provides connecting tracks into the port. This is expected to be delivered by the end of 2020. It will allow 750m long trains to be dispatched to the north.
Yildirim Group is a canny operator, but the question is where all this new container traffic going to come from? A gateway as well as a transhipment role is also seen as a key selling point for Medcenter Container Terminal in Gioia Tauro, where MSC has committed to reviving traffic and growing it to 4M TEU a year within two years.
Yildirim Group sees its 24% stake in CMA CGM as strategic (originally it was expected to be a 5-year commitment) and the same goes for Malta Freeport, CMA CGM’s Mediterranean hub port, where Yildirim has a 50% stake.