Logistics is the Key to Growth in the Mediterranean Basin

Logistics is the Key to Growth in the Mediterranean Basin
Logistics is the Key to Growth in the Mediterranean Basin

In the first session titled “The Future of Trade in the Mediterranean Basin” of the 89th International Izmir Business Days meeting held online within the scope of the Izmir International Fair (IEF), which opened its doors for the 6th time, Jak Eskinazi, Aegean Exporters' Unions Coordinator President, was a speaker.


New opportunities in logistics in Tunisia, Egypt, Italy, Spain and France were evaluated with the participation of Tunisian Commercial Counselor Emre Semiz, Cairo Commercial Counselor Mehmet Güneş, Rome Commercial Counselor Malik Belhan, Barcelona Commercial Attache Elif Berrak Taşyürek, Marseille Commercial Attaché Serdar Alper.

Jak Eskinazi said that in the first 2020 months of 7, 4 billion dollars were exported to Italy, 3 billion dollars to Spain and France, 2 billion dollars to Egypt and 471 million dollars to Tunisia.

“In our bilateral trade, iron and steel, vehicles, textile, ready-to-wear and ready-to-wear, chemical materials sectors stand out. With our largest trade partners Italy, Spain and France, which were more severely affected by the pandemic than other countries, we experienced a 20% -30% decline in our exports in the January-July period. The European Union Commission predicts that the economic crisis caused by the epidemic will cause a historical decline by the end of the year and that there will be 8,3 percent economic shrinkage in the Union countries. According to the Commission, the Gross Domestic Product in France, Italy and Spain will decrease by at least 10 percent. China is making new investments with the belt-by-belt initiative to reach the European market, where it is far away, faster. The EU enabled the countries in the Mediterranean to sign mutual free trade agreements and remove trade and investment barriers to each other and to the EU. "

Eskinazi mentioned that the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Zone was created in a way thanks to the agreements and said, “By the end of 2019, the bilateral trade volume of the EU and the countries in the Mediterranean basin exceeded 320 billion Euros. We are the only country in the Mediterranean basin that has a Customs Union agreement with the EU. This situation, which has been a great advantage for us for years, unfortunately started to work against us during the Brexit process. Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, which are our trading partners in the Mediterranean basin; It has already signed the necessary agreements in 2019 for the Free Trade Agreements with the UK to continue in the same way after Brexit. In accordance with our Customs Union agreement with the EU, we have to wait for the EU to complete its own agreement process before we can sign an FTA with the UK. I hope our process will be completed by the end of the year. " said.

African exports to Turkey via Egypt;

  • The route our country uses to trade with Middle and East Africa is currently passing through Egypt's Suez Canal via container ships.
  • Currently, the only way for our country to go directly to East African ports is the container ships that start in Italy, stop at the Mersin port and unload their cargo in East African ports by passing through the Suez canal. They stop by from Italy to Mersin every 15 days. In addition, it is considered that there may be limited space for our country, although it varies on these partially loaded ships.
  • As a second alternative, it was investigated whether to reach African countries with transit land transportation from Egypt. It is anticipated that a large burden may be created in terms of cost due to the volume.
  • The last alternative was to transport the cargo to be unloaded at Alexandria or Port Said without using the Suez canal to the interior of Africa via Egypt. Due to the necessity of changing TIRs in the crossing of Sudan and difficulties in the supply of fuel on the Sudan side, it is not possible for Sudan trucks to reach the border. The strict measures taken by the Egyptian customs on TIR tracking increase the costs. In addition, there are difficulties and security problems in crossing from North Sudan to South Sudan.
  • In 2018, based on the talks with the Jordanian Embassy in Ankara, Egypt renewed the incentive agreement applied for ships that will pass through the Suez Canal and arrive at the port of Aqaba, and within this scope, dry cargo ships, cruise ships and container ships going to the port of Aqaba will pay 50 percent in the Suez Canal tolls. It has been learned that this discount will be provided and not only for Jordanian flagged ships.

Tunisia and Mediterranean trade;

  • Major ports and shipping points; Rades Port, Sfax Port, Bizerte Port, Sousse Port.
  • In addition to digitalization and modernization in production channels and production lines / production structure, it is also important to digitalize the customs procedures and logistics sector. Seaway and container transportation in the Mediterranean was negatively affected by the pandemic. It is indispensable in the region in terms of access to Europe, Africa and the Middle East and other international markets. There are many important ports and shipping points for export products in the Mediterranean basin. It has 87 ports.
  • There are important connection points such as Sicily, Gibraltar, Suez and the Turkish Straits. 25 percent of global traffic is experienced. Petroleum products, chemical products, vehicles and grains stand out in transportation in the region as well as other export products. With the support of the African Development Bank (BAD) and African cooperation organizations, the countries in the region aim to strengthen their logistics connections by 2040.
  • Considering that Africa is the gateway to the product and service sectors in which we are strong, it is important that we increase our access to our export markets, taking into consideration the Mediterranean and the entire African region through Tunisia.

Italy and Mediterranean trade;

  • Logistics villages in Italy are generally established around Milan.
  • Bologna logistics village: The total area of ​​the Bologna logistics logistics village, which has a container terminal and intermodal terminal, is 20.000.000m2 and its expansion area is 2.500.000m2.
  • Quandrante Europe logistics village: It has a total area of ​​2.500.000m2 and an extension area of ​​4.200.000m2. More than 6 million tons of product passes by rail and more than 20 million tons by road from the logistics village annually. 110 international logistics companies are served and employ 10 thousand people.
  • Parma logistics village:It has an area of ​​2.542.000m2. The logistics village, which serves 80 logistics companies, transported 2006 million tons of freight in 1.600.000, of which 5 tons were transported by rail.
  • Verona logistics village: It operates in an area of ​​2.500.000m2. It was established at the junction of main highways and railways in the north of Italy. It has an 800.000 m2 railway intermodal terminal. 6 million tons of freight transfer by rail and 20 million tons by road is carried out annually. 120 thousand people work in the logistics village serving 4 companies.
  • Success of logistics villages in Italy; It is attributed to the highly qualified organizational structure and the high volume of combined transportation. Especially, there are networks established with EU countries and an intermodal transport structure.
  • Trieste Turkey's delegation, has plans to build logistics centers. weight shipments from Turkey to Italy in Pendik, Istanbul, Mersin Port in Cesme and (2,5-3 per day) is being used. Delivery time within the EU takes an average of 1 week.
  • Italy is advantageous in terms of logistics base and is a strategic logistics base in the center of Europe. It offers the countries in the Mediterranean Region the opportunity to open up to Africa. It can be used as a Hub. Turkish population is high. Turkish Ro-Ro businesses and shipping companies have intensive activities in Italy. Due to its special status Free Port location, it offers the opportunity to postpone VAT in intra-EU transactions. Temporary warehouse purchases and leases can also be made.

Logistics lines in France;

  • Southern France and its logistic importance: The region is a port center. Important commercial ports in the region; Marseille-Fos, Sete, Toulon, Arles Port.
  • Marseille Fos Port: Marseille Fos Port, which hosts maritime logistics and industrial activities, is the 79st port in France and the 3nd port in the Mediterranean, providing 1 million tons of goods and 2 million passenger traffic per year. There is also a train and river connection. Container transportation is carried out in our country. (Chemical materials, white goods, natural stone, marble, construction materials)
  • Sete Port: It provided 2019 thousand passengers and 115 million tons of goods traffic in 4,3. Gemlik-Sete Ro-Ro line has been active for about 1,5 years. The line currently operates three frequencies a week. The ships have a trailer capacity of approximately 250-300. There is a railway connection to the north. This line, which is not yet active, is expected to start operating.
  • Arles Port: Arles Harbor, located on the Rhone river, is located at the intersection of Europe's north-south axis and the Mediterranean basin. A port that can provide the Euro-Mediterranean connection. It is more prominent in the transportation of bulk products.
  • Sete Port: Multimodel logistics is supported. According to Castex's announcement on July 27; The rail link between Sete-Calais will start operating. German Cargobeamer company starts trial voyages. The line Antwerp (Belgium) - Rungis (near Paris) - Perpignan (South France) - Barcelona will be activated for shipping.
  • Logistics-trade is a relationship that feeds each other. In case of demand, our logistics companies active in France can open new lines, operate ships, increase frequency frequency, etc. he is willing and agile in matters. However, the development of logistics networks is also a factor that makes entering the market attractive. On the other hand, balanced trade is desired for efficiency in logistics costs.

Logistics centers in Barcelona;

  • Southern Europe logistics center with 8000 km of coastline. Logistics center for the European, North African and Latin American market. It has a total of 46 ports (Algeciras, Valencia, Barcelona, ​​Bilbao, Cartagane ports ..) In terms of high speed train transportation by sea, it is the 1st in Europe and 2nd in the world. In foreign trade, port traffic meets 60 percent of exports and 85 percent of imports. 96% of the trade with non-EU third countries is done by sea.
  • The Mediterranean corridor project is important. Logistics centers; Madrid (central location), Barcelona (road link-industry-number of multinational companies), Valencia (container port), Zaragoza (logistics project PLAZA). 53 percent of our exports are by sea and 44 percent by land. Turkish logistics investments in Spain are 26,1 million euros.
  • It is linked to e-commerce as it improves logistics. Investments in logistics should be focused on digitalization and automation. E-commerce increased by 2019 percent in 25 and reached 48,8 billion euros. E-commerce accounts for 41 percent of logistics contracts. 2020 logistics investments amounted to 520 million euros. There is a 17 percent increase.


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