IFC Support to Arkas Group Will Help Expand Cont
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced the signing of a loan agreement with Arkas Holding, a leading transportation group in Turkey, to expand port operations and develop logistics facilities in Anatolia, helping bolster the country’s economic growth. The $45 million loan will help reduce infrastructure bottlenecks through modern and efficient use of maritime, rail, land, and air transport.
Lucien Arkas, Chairman of Arkas, said, “The IFC loan will facilitate our ongoing investments in container vessels, port facilities, port equipment, rail wagons, trucks, and logistics centers in Anatolia. In 2007, for example, we have enlarged our fleet of container vessels by acquiring six ships worth over $220 million. In 2008 we have budgeted $50 million for investments related to our core activities. Arkas is also investing to develop maritime trade and maritime engineering schools.”
Limitations in Turkey’s transportation sector are a major impediment to economic growth; hence developing the sector is a priority. High logistics costs hinder Turkey’s competitiveness, and the country’s ability to grow its container-based trade is limited by its container port facilities. Most of the country’s key container ports operate at about full utilization and need to expand, while the level of containerization of Turkey’s general cargo, at around 40 percent, remains well below the 80 to 90 percent of mature markets.
IFC Vice President Declan Duff said, “We are very pleased to partner with Arkas in its efforts to expand its operations, which will help lower transport costs. Infrastructure investments are of utmost importance for sustainable economic growth in emerging markets and form a key part of IFC’s strategy.”
Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, said “Turkey is at the crossroads of intercontinental transportation routes between Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. A well-functioning port and better transportation infrastructure are vital to reducing bottlenecks, sustaining rapid economic growth, and promoting trade between these regions and within Turkey itself.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Arkas is a privately owned group founded in Izmir, Turkey, in 1902. Today, Arkas serves its clients through 4,500 employees at its 14 facilities in Turkey and 18 international offices. The group represents or has joint ventures with major international shipping companies, including MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, Hangin, Senator, Yang Ming Line, Grimaldi and Schenker. Arkas will handle about 1.3 million TEU (20-foot equivalent units) in 2007. The group has the largest fleet of container vessels in Turkey; its 23 ships have a total capacity of 26,392 TEU and operate under the brand name of EMES. For more information, visit www.arkas.com.tr.
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