TURKEY’s minister of transport, Mr Adil Karaismailoğlu, has announced plans to increase the number of regions connected by the high-speed network from eight to 52 by 2053, as the country develops its 30-year transport plan

Speaking at the Transport and Logistics Master Plan - Transport 2053 Vision Launch in Istanbul alongside the general manager of Turkish State Railways (TCDD), Mr Metin Akbaş, Karaismailoğlu said the expansion of the network is expected to cost $US 198bn over the next 30 years.

Karaismailoğlu says the government is adopting an integrated approach for transport and communications systems, and is looking to develop freight traffic in a way that also benefits passenger services with a focus on mobility, logistics and digitalisation.

Karaismailoğlu says the plan will develop a more sustainable, safe, environmentally friendly, accessible, comprehensive, fast and technologically more innovative transport sector with a new, fast and comfortable infrastructure.

“We will ensure integration in transport and logistics activities in order to become a global leader in transport and logistics and a leader in this region,” he says. “We will increase fair access to transport services and improve infrastructure quality.”

Rail carried 33 million tonnes of freight in Turkey in 2019, with a market share of 3.13%. Karaismailoğlu says this is expected to increase to 55 million tonnes with a market share of more than 5% in 2023, with the market share further increasing to more than 11% in 2029 and around 22% in 2053.

“This will result in a seven times increase in rail’s share of freight between 2019 and 2053,” Karaismailoğlu says. “We expect the share of international freight to increase by 10 times.”

The number of passengers carried by rail is also expected to increase from 19.5 million in 2023 to 145 million in 2035 and 269 million in 2053.

“We know the importance of transferring the share of passenger and freight from road to other transport modes in order to make the most effective use of the geographical location of our country,” Karaismailoğlu says. “In the Transport and Logistics Master Plan, there is a special emphasis on railways.”

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