Founded in 1992 and formerly operated by the Turkiye Is Bankasi, Gemport handles containers, vehicles, general cargo and warehousing, as well as providing pilotage and towage services to all vessels calling at Gemlik Bay and the Mudanya region. The facility is one of the major ports in the Marmara Region and Turkey, with a container handling capacity of 600,000 teu and a vehicle loading/ discharge capacity of 400,000 ceu per annum.
“Yilport now has a new gem in its portfolio,” said Sean Pierce, CEO. “Gemport represents a very strategic acquisition for the organisation, one that will allow Yilport to create one of the largest, most technologically advanced facilities in all of Turkey and the surrounding region.”
The Group has also announced the 100% acquisition of RotaPort, located 80 km from Istanbul and which has been operating in Korfez, Kocaeli since 1995; it has the largest warehousing capacity in the region, providing general grain and cement warehousing facilities. Yildirim plans to invest US$200m in restructuring and additional new equipment to transform the facility into an industry and regional leader in liquid cargo and general warehousing.
With strong growth in the region, Turkey’s port operations have been increasing in both capacity and diversity of services and it is expected that privatisation over the next few years will include many of the state-owned ports.
Commenting on the Group’s expansion plans and strategic goals in port operations, Yildirim Group President, Robert Yuksel, said, “We bought a 50% share in Malta Freeport for €200m (US$264m) and are in negotiations with ports in Africa and Latin America. We are not hurrying though since we have to find the ones with the best returns”.
“With Yilport Gebze, Yilport Gemlik, Malta Freeport and RotaPort, we managed to reach a portfolio value of US$2bn. We will invite foreign investors to our portfolio right after we reach a critical and sustainable size. We are building a new berth of 1,800 m long right now. The biggest cranes in Turkey are on their way and we will be able to handle the largest vessels,” he continued.
Currently the group has an annual container handling capacity of 5.5m teu in its five ports and expected this figure to rise to 7.5m teu over the next five years, a record for a Turkish company, according to Yuksel.