APM Terminals Seeks More Ports in Turkey on Shipping Prospects

Photo credit: APM Terminals
Photo credit: APM Terminals

By Ercan Ersoy

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — APM Terminals BV, the port operator owned by AP Moeller-Maersk A/S, wants to buy more ports in Turkey, a market where container volumes are growing twice as fast as the economy.

“We are definitely interested to have a port around Istanbul, in the Marmara region,” Mogens Wolf Larsen, managing director for APM’s Turkish unit, said in an interview Nov. 21. “We can also look at the Mediterranean coast between Mersin and Iskenderun.”

Container-handling is growing twice as fast as gross domestic product in Turkey, yet the industry is half the size as Germany’s on a per-capita basis, Larsen said. Turkey handled 8 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEU, of containers at its ports in 2013 and had capacity of about 12 million TEU.

“The container port business in Turkey is very underdeveloped,” Larsen said. “As Turkey opens up and starts accepting large ships, container port businesses will grow.”

The Hague-based company plans to start operations at its container port, located in Aliaga peninsula in western Turkey from the end of next year, Larsen said. The port will be fully operational from 2016. It’s located next to a plant of Petkim Petrokimya Holding AS, the country’s biggest petrochemicals maker. APM will pay annual fees to Petkim while operating the facilities for 28 years. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bought a 30 percent stake in the port for $250 million this year.

Petkim, owned by State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, and APM Terminals are together investing as much as $450 million in the APM port, which will have an annual container handling capacity of 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEU, Larsen said. That will make the port Turkey’s third-largest after Mersin International Port on the Mediterranean coast, and Marport, near Istanbul, he said.

APM is looking to have majority or full control, build- operate-transfer or government concessions as models for port operations, he said.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.