672 - Burdur Terminali - Deniz

Can railway compete with trucks in Turkey?

We prepared 4 scenarios on EU funded cost analysis to determine when railway is better than trucks in terms of cost and performance.

These scenarios are:

  • Current situation,
  • By increasing average freight speed from 30 km/h to 40 km/h by better train planning,
  • By increasing traction power using modern locos
  • Electrification

Calculations were based on container transportation with 75% and 100% occupancy rate using 42 cost items in these scenarios.

The cost reduction was 11% in second scenario, 38.4% in third and 62% in fourth. Cost of trucks is almost same with railway in third scenario where in fourth scenario, railway is cheaper by 30% compared with trucks.

This shows that a comparison between railway and trucks with current legislation and network statement would be misleading.

Below items should be considered to calculate cost items of railway transportation:

  • The stop points, loading gauge due to tunnels, gradients, engineering works, axle load limits, wagon capacities, low-speed sections, signalization, electrification, the compatibility of locos for specific route,
  • Calculation of real capacity of railway section according to UIC 406 based on current locos, wagons, loads and route spects,
  • The cost of additional services like shunting, usage of signalization, loading/unloading, electric power, fuel, parking lines,
  • Determination of needs and costs of logistic centers,
  • Additional costs of empty runs and optimization of them,
  • Cost of set up, administration and documentation of safety manegement systems,
  • Cost of last mile trucking for door-to-door transportation.

If these items are considered during planning, capacity will increase and rail freight costs will be much cheaper than trucks. Thus, 65% of freight is done by rail in Europe.

In order to check and develop this cost-performance values, both Ministry and TCDD will determine KPIs and follow them. Punctuality, service speed may be examples for those KPIs. The requests and suggestions of private companies will also be considered in investment plans. The current national master main plan, logistics master plan and data projects about other transport modes are expected to strengthen the transportation systems in Turkey within 10 years. The biggest contribution to future investment plans will surely come from analysis of capacity based on digital data collected and simulations. Thus a strong, competitive and flexible rail system will develop year by year, Turkey’s logistics performance will improve and a sustainable transport system will be established.

Translation: Onur Uysal

Cover Photo: Deniz Uysal ©

Written by turkerahi

Raylı Sistemler ve İnşaat Yük.Müh. Cand. PhD. (Demiryolu Lojistiği) Almanya, İsviçre, Belçika ve Fransa’da demiryolu işlerinde çalışmış olan Sayın AHİ 2011 yılından beri Alman Railistics GmbH şirketinin Türkiye Bölge Müdürlüğünü yürütmektedir. Ayrıca onaylanmış kuruluşlarla birlikte çalışarak TSİ (karşılıklı işletilebilirlik teknik şartnamesi) kuralları kapsamında cer, altyapı, YHT, yük vagonu ve ECM sertifikasyon projelerini de yürütmekte olan Sayın AHİ, ayrıca iş güvenliği uzmanı, ISO 9001 kalite sistem denetçiliği yapmakta ve Demiryolu ile ilgili uluslararası makale ve kitap yayınlanmaktadır. İngiltere menşeli Railway Gazette Dergisinin Türkiye Editörlüğünü başarıyla yürüten Sayın Ahi, 2011 yılından bu yana “TCDD’nin Yeniden Yapılandırılması” kapsamında hem TCDD‘ye ve hem de Demiryolu Düzenleme Genel Müdürlüğü’ne eğitimler ve mevzuatlara katkı vermektedir. Ayrıca Dünya Bankası, AB projelerinde ve özel sektörün tanınmış firmalarında danışmanlık yapmayı sürdürmektedir.


  1. There is a fact that Intermodal Transportation Solutions increase every passing day with new routes in railways and innovation at the equipments that logistics companies use.Nowadays, security and scheduled transportation are more important than the transit times so in this case Intermodal will be always popular against trucking especially in winter seasons when trucks hardly move through the Eastern Europe.

    1. Here it’s meant, as I understood from the whole article, is that rail is involved in 65% of inland CONTAINER transport in Europe.. 18%, again I guess, is the modal share of rail, considering all modals including vessel and all type of transports.

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