Last week, Turkish Parliament accepted the law about “Liberalization of Railway Transportation in Turkey”. Railway was the last state-controlled-monopoly in Turkey, and the biggest step about that seems to be taken.
Of course there is still a lot to do before running first private loco on rails in Turkey. But this is a milestone, details of which are as follows:
- TCDD continues to be a governmental organization, but only responsible for the infrastructure.
- The units of TCDD responsible for the operations of trains will be separated, as an affiliate of TCDD naming “TCDD Taşımacılık AŞ”.
- Management of current railway network will be handled only by TCDD. However TCDD’s monopoly will end for things like “building/repairing of railways, operating stations and terminals.
- Private companies will be partially free to own infrastructure (only the new lines they build), and completely be free to operate trains on the infrastructure owned by TCDD or any other private companies.
- Government will support connections to main railway network from plants, industrial areas and warehouses with the target of increasing the total volume of railway transportation.
- “TCDD Taşımacılık AŞ” will be supported for a determined period by government in order to continue the current railway services until the reorganization of railway transportation in Turkey is completed successfully.
Everybody is expecting a similar development seen in air transportation in Turkey after liberalization. But many experiences in Europe show that transition period will not be so easy and fast. Beside many reasons that make railways more conservative, the hard competition with trucks and vessels may slow down the money that’s supposed to be invested in train transportation.
The only feedback from leading groups in Turkey came from Sabanci which mainly focused on the passenger transportation with speed trains, and that seems not in parallel with the targets of government.
So the development in railway transportation in near future will continue to be based on the capabilities and efforts of TCDD, and its new child TCDD Taşımacılık AŞ.