Turkey expects to lay ground for Kanal Istanbul project in summer

Turkey expects to lay ground for Kanal Istanbul project in summer

Preparations are nearly complete for the Kanal Istanbul project, a huge canal on the edge of Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday (April 7).

Turkey will soon hold a tender for the huge canal and lay the groundwork for it in the summer, Erdoğan said.

Construction of the canal, which the president referred to as the country's biggest and most strategic infrastructure project, will soon commence.

“The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the project was completed with the contributions of 56 institutions and organizations, more than 200 scientists, media and our citizens,” Erdoğan also said.

Kanal Istanbul will serve as an international waterway that will contribute to Turkey’s logistical power and infrastructure by performing an important function in global maritime trade.

The canal will connect the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Marmara Sea to the south, designed as an alternative global shipping lane, and estimated to cost around TL 75 billion ($9.2 billion).

The government says it will ease shipping traffic on the Bosporus Strait, one of the world’s busiest maritime passages, and prevent accidents similar to the recent incident on Egypt’s Suez Canal, where a giant container ship became lodged and blocked the channel for almost a week. The blockage threw global supply chains into disarray, threatening costly delays for firms already wrestling with COVID-19 restrictions, and nearly doubled rates for oil product tankers.

Championed by President Erdogan and revealed in 2011, Kanal Istanbul is one of Turkey’s most strategic megaprojects, meant to stem the rising risk posed by ships carrying dangerous goods via the Bosporus, especially oil tankers.

The 45-kilometer (27.96-mile) canal, which will be built in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece-Sazlıdere-Durusu corridor, will boast a capacity of 160 vessels a day and is expected to generate significant economic value by reducing transit periods and costs, in addition to passage fees.

Tender prep ongoing as Turkey looks to start Istanbul canal project

On Sunday, Turkish transport and infrastructure minister said that Turkey is pressing ahead with work on the tender for a huge canal on the edge of Istanbul with plans to start the project soon.

“Kanal Istanbul’s project works and development plans have been completed and tender preparations are continuing,” Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said, stressing strong determination to start the project in the near future and complete it in the shortest time possible.

Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum recently said development plans for the canal had been approved.

Designed as an alternative global shipping lane, Kanal Istanbul will connect the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Marmara Sea to the south and is estimated to cost around TL 75 billion ($9.24 billion).

With the completion of the project, the Marmara region will be the center of Eurasia with its ports, logistics regions and railway connections, Karaismailoğlu noted.

The government said the canal would ease shipping traffic on the Bosporus, one of the world’s busiest maritime passages, and prevent accidents similar to that of last week on Egypt’s Suez Canal, where a giant container ship became lodged last month and blocked the channel for almost a week.

Emphasizing that the Bosporus is a difficult waterway to manage due to its sharp turns, bottom currents and heavy traffic, Karaismailoğlu said the ships today wait close to 14 hours on average to pass, saying this figure could rise to as much as 48 hours in the coming years.

“This, in turn, is a factor that will negatively affect the flow of global trade,” the minister noted.

Kanal Istanbul is designed as an ideal waterway for ship navigation, he said. “With an effective logistics management, the 100% safe passage of ships will be ensured within the scope of intelligent navigation systems, with the support of an autonomous guide captain who controls the ship without waiting.”

The 45-kilometer (27.96-mile) canal, which will be built in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece-Sazlıdere-Durusu corridor, will boast a capacity of 160 vessels a day and is expected to create significant economic value by reducing transit periods and costs, in addition to passage fees.

Based on DS