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U.N Ro-Ro is exploring new markets due to the recent economic crisis in Europe, increasing its investments as it buys a new ship, the biggest of its fleet.
“We have always worked to turn our face to Europe, but we have also started to become interested in new markets to the north and south [of Turkey],” said Sedat Gümüşoğlu, CEO of U.N. Ro-Ro at a press conference in Hamburg ahead of the launching of its new ship, the U.N. ISTANBUL, produced by Flensburg–Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG).
Gümüşoğlu said they would continue to work mainly in Europe, but added that they are looking for new markets around the Black Sea and in the south. “We are considering working on a route to Egypt. Also we may join in the Black Sea route with large-tonnage ships,” said Gümüşoğlu during the press tour to Germany’s Hamburg hosted by the company.
Europe’s share in Turkey’s foreign trade has decreased from 46 percent to 38 percent, said Gümüşoğlu. Declaring that in 2007 truck transports to Europe had been about 244,000, he highlighted the fact that the increase in transport had been below 1 percent per annum since 2007. Executives of U.N. Ro-Ro and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), an investment fund that acquired the company in 2007, participated in the naming and launching ceremony of the U.N. ISTANBUL on Feb. 8 in Hamburg Flensburger Shipyard, where the vessel was built.
Praising the trust between the two countries, FSG Managing Director Peter Sierk, who also attended the ceremony, said that their relationship can transcend “even a global crisis.” The Turkish consul to Hamburg, Devrim Öztürk, was present at the ceremony as well.
The U.N. ISTANBUL is Turkey’s biggest ro-ro ship with a capacity of 280 semi-trailer trucks. They will be operating along the Trieste route on Saturdays and can move to other routes in the future depending on demand, Gümüşoğlu said. “Despite the crisis affecting the world since 2008, and the recession in the shipping and transportation sector related to the crisis, as U.N. Ro-Ro we have prepared ourselves for the future by continuing with our investments. Our fleet investments, realized in line with the foreign trade targets of Turkey’s 2023 vision, reached a total amount of 260 million euros since 2008.”
Gümüşoğlu added that they will be able to meet a 60 percent increase in truck transports to Europe.
U.N. Ro-Ro, founded in 1994 by international transportation companies, operates regular roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) services from Pendik and Ambarlı ports in Istanbul, and Mersin to Trieste, Italy and Toulon, France with its fleet of 12 ro-ro ships with a capacity of 322,000 vehicles. The company has continued its investments under KKR since December 2007, Hurriyet Daily reports.
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