Pipes are exported to all Europe from Turkey nowadays. Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Polland and France. Another success story of aggressive Turkish exporters.
It must be called aggressive, because they have been succeeded in competing with the European producers in especially last 6 years despite the logistic disadvantages. But why especially in last 6 years? What was changed 6 years ago?
Once, there were 2 options for the Turkish producers. Truck and vessel. Trucks, as everybody knows, can provide service if width and length of pipes are suitable with truck dimensions. Trucks will not refuse transporting 12 mt pipes with 80 cm diameter, and may give sometimes competetive rates. But what if dimensions are longer. Get ready to pay for surcharges, permissions and escorts..
Vessels, on the other hand, are capable of carrying any dimension, of course from port to port. Trucks are needed for first and last mile. And additional surcharges may not bother, only if the distance from port to POD is close.
Unfortunately, pipe biz has two golden rules making things harder. Rule 1 is “longer is better”. Longer pipe means less manpower to handle, locate and weld each piece. So especially for big projects 18 mt pipes are requested.
Rule 2 is “better through the middle”. Most of the pipe projects follow up a route through the middle of the continental or country which provides the shortest path and widest coverage.
As can be thought, railway is the strongest answer to both of these rules. Of course this was not a secret. However, there used to be another problem for Turkish pipe producers who want to use train. They could not find wagons, for Turkish wagons were not running in Europe. After a great effort, the very first pipe block train with TCDD wagons depart from Turkey to Europe, and since then, more than 2 million meters of pipe have been exported. Pipe producers become the most-railway-using industry within this period.
Today, Turkish producers like Borusan Mannesmann, Ümran Boru, Emek Boru, Noksel and Erciyas Boru are doing a lot of business with Europe. They succeed to be competetive in terms of quality, cost and management. And railway is supporting them a lot with its high capabilities and low rates.
Cover photo by Eksper Rail