Turkey, Russia to Build Logistics Center in Black Sea Basin

MOSCOW (Hurriyet)–Turkey and Russia are planning to build a logistics center in Krasnodar, located 1,500 kilometers south of Moscow. Along with bilateral trade, the center will provide transportation, customs and storage services to third countries.

A logistics center in southern Russia will contribute to growing bilateral trade between Turkey and Russia and become a base for Turkish transporters willing to be important actors in the region.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss the joint projects in the scope of their “strategic partnership” Wednesday. Turkish exporters are looking forward to hearing more positive news from Moscow after a customs crisis was solved with Putin’s visit to Ankara in August.

The two leaders are expected to take concrete steps toward the construction of a long-awaited joint logistics center in Krasnodar province on account of the inclusion of Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan in the visiting delegation.

Krasnodar is located 1,500 kilometers south of Moscow and is close to the Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk, Temruk, Taman, Kavkaz, Gelendzhik and Tuapse.

Turkey, which seeks to export to Russia and other countries in the Black Sea and Caucasus region more efficiently, began feasibility studies in 2008. However, the Russia-Georgia War in August 2008 halted their efforts as Turkish trucks faced difficulties crossing the border.

“Having tackled all the customs problems, we’re now considering building a logistics center in southern Russia with contributions from both the public and private sector,” an official from the Turkish Foreign Trade Ministry was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

The center is expected to be a key base reaching all countries around the Black Sea in addition to Russia. “We will provide transportation, storage, collection, export and customs services to third countries. All Black Sea countries will able to reach these services,” said the same official, requesting anonymity.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin agreed to the project in August when he visited Ankara in preparation for a subsequent trip by Putin.

“In order to simplify legal procedures and boost trade, we’ve agreed to establish a joint committee to do research on a logistics center that would ease transportation, customs and logistics,” Caglayan told reporters in a joint press conference with Sechin.

Turkish and Russian officials have continued discussing the outcomes of the feasibility reports at routine meetings since August. A road map will be determined at a high-level meeting in either January or February, official sources said.

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