Turkey is accelerating efforts to build logistics centers that may handle trade flow worth over $2 billion as part of the modern Silk Road, which is being revitalized by China, according to The Daily Sabah.
The government has plans to open 21 logistics centres at the cross-roads of the Silk Road, nine of which are already operational according to Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan.
“We have completed the logistics centers in Mersin, Konya and Kayacık. The Kars logistics center is under construction. The remaining eight are in the tender, project and expropriation stages,” he told the Turkish newspaper.
Turhan pointed out that there are three main corridors between Asia and Europe, namely east-west, north-south, and middle. “The middle corridor, which will connect Central Asia and the Caspian region to Europe via Turkey starting from China, is of great importance as a continuation of the historical Silk Road,” Turhan said.
“The middle corridor starts from China, reaches Turkey via Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and connects to Europe from here. Within this picture, the Silk Road route, which historically links Europe and Asia, has regained its importance, and the People's Republic of China, a front-runner to become a new superpower, has initiated a very significant opening toward the modern Silk Road,” he added.
Turhan said the central axis of Turkey's transportation policies was shaped to provide an uninterrupted line from China to London, ultimately achieving daily trade volumes of $2 billion.
"The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway line, which was opened last year, is also vital as an infrastructure that connects all roads reaching from Central Asia and China to our country,” said Turhan. “This project does not connect only three countries, but links Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and China to one other."
"An 829-kilometer railway line from Baku to Kars completes a crucial part of the central corridor line crossing the Caspian. However, the importance of this project will be better understood in the coming years. Because the daily trade volume between China and Europe today has reached $1.5 billion. This trade flow is expected to continue to increase and exceed $2 billion per day in five to six years," Turhan said.
For this reason, Turhan says it is vital that Turkey finish the roads that are complementary to the operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway line at full capacity.
Turhan said they started to establish logistics villages to meet the future transportation demand from Anatolia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and China.
The new Silk Road passes through a total of 10 states and is intended to serve logistics to a 40 million square kilometer area in more than 60 countries in Eastern, Central and Western Asia, and Central, Southern and Western Europe.
"These figures account for 26 percent of the world's surface area and 63 percent of the world's population with 4.4 billion. It also makes up 29 percent of the world economy, which reveals why China's Belt and Road Initiative is so important for Turkey," said Turhan.