Kapikule Railway Terminal, Photo: Rail Turkey

Too Many Unknowns in European Traffic

Railway professionals dealing with Turkey-Europe traffic are getting tired of moving with lots of unknowns nowadays. There are lots of foggy points that nobody can get a clear, official, in written answer. More than one scenarios prepared for each RFQ, and many “assumptions” are placed to offers. Here are the most frequently asked questions and about European railway traffic  in Turkey:

Is Halkalı terminal closed?

Seems closed. Although closure of Halkalı is announced as 17th of June in May by TCDD, everybody was expecting that the closure will at least wait for opening of both Derince ferry and Cerkezkoy bounded storage area. But TCDD had not announced any postpone, and  European operators stopped accepting CIMs with Halkalı as arrival terminal for a while. But there were “railway owned” wagons arrived Halkalı even on 17th of June, and the line should be kept open at least for their return. The container traffic of Halkalı has not started in Cerkezkoy either.

Is Cerkezkoy open for conventional wagons?

Seems not. As TCDD announced officially last week (24th week), Cerkezkoy is only be open only for container wagons (single or block) after closure of Halkali. This means conventional wagons will not be accepted to Cerkezkoy. Based on this announcement, European railway operators stopped accepting conventional wagons to Cerkezkoy this week. But since closure of Halkali is not 100% clear, it’s still unclear if the restriction has started or not.

Can clients with railway connection to Cerkezkoy continue their conventional traffic?

Seems yes. Within the announcement mentioned above, an exception is declared for the wagons to clients with railway connection via Cerkezkoy. So, if conventional wagons will be unloaded at either BSH Plant or Barsan Warehouse with direct railway connection via Cerkezkoy terminal, they should be allowed to Cerkezkoy. Unfortunately, CIMs with Cerkezkoy as arrival station had started not to be accepted by European railway operators nowadays, and there’s no way to mention “usage of railway connection in CIM” technically. Probably it’ll be solved by CIT7 in Kapikule.

Can container trains stop in Cerkezkoy from now on?

Seems cannot. The new storage area with three lines 200 mt length each is prepared for container handling during Halkali closure. Although the construction works had completed, there’s one more issue to be solved: The status of area in terms of customs. Since approval of customs has not taken, legally, the “not-customs-cleared” containers cannot be put on storage area. This means container trains will wait for all containers to be customs cleared or customs transhipped, which is certainly not acceptable for container traffic. Yet, none of the container lines had started to use Cerkezkoy. Only one trial shipment has done.

Has Corlu started to be used for conventional wagons?

Not yet. Corlu is under the authority of Edirne Regional Customs Office. On Friday (21/6), a meeting was held. Then first it’s told that the customs clearance of single wagons coming to Corlu has to be done at Kapikule. Then another decleration is heard in market that, the customs clearance can be done also in Corlu customs office. Customs transhipment, on the other hand, will not be accepted via Corlu. Since Corlu is so far away both from terminal facilities (truck, crane, accomodation etc) and customs office, noone prefers Corlu, and will surely use Cerkezkoy option until it’s restricted.

Will Tekirdag-Derince ferry open on 25th of June?

Not known. TCDD officially announced that the ferry will start after 25th of June. The construction work at Derince Port for ferry has not completed yet, but considerable progress has seen. The problem in the rail bridge at Tekirdag Port is told be solved. But since the reason of postpone was not known in detail (technical or legal), noone knows the current status will be enough for opening. Also “after 25th of June” is an open-ended decleration that hard to rely on.

Photo: Onur Uysal

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