Turkey: the bridge between Europe and Asia

02. 11. 2021

Turkey’s landscape and history make it one of the oldest and the most diverse countries on the Mediterranean. It’s size and strategic location between Europe and Asia also make it an extremely interesting market and one of the few countries that have achieved economic growth since the beginning of the pandemic and especially in 2020.

TransNET is our network and offers all TransFER connections from Europe to Asia digitally at a glance. In our TransNET, all our TransFER connections from and to all ports, economic and industrial centers are clearly displayed. In this way, we can get to wherever we are needed - to the goods and the customers.

TransFER connections to and from Turkey

Turkey has long been declared “the bridge between Orient and Occident”. Its rich history and landscapes make it one of the most diverse regions with one of the oldest civilisations on the Mediterranean. Turkey’s geographical location between Europe and Asia makes it a powerhouse for many European economies and a key strategic market for us.

ÖBB Rail Cargo Group in Turkey

From our domestic markets of Austria and Hungary, we connect ports, economic and industrial hubs across Europe and into Asia. We provide no less than 25 TransFER service combinations to and from Istanbul and secure the link to Halkali, the most important international freight terminal in Turkey.

After all, Istanbul represents a key hub for freight transport on the Southern Silk Road between Europe and Asia. It connects West European economic centres with countries in Southern and Southeast Europe. With 17 RCG staff on site, we play a leading role in European logistics for transport from China to Europe via Turkey. In our SmartLINK, the digital service spectrum of RCG, we offer not only reliable end-to-end logistics in Turkey, but also many additional services such as the entire customs clearance.

The Halkalı terminal and the Marmaray tunnel

The Halkalı freight terminal is located on the European side of Istanbul and offers 122,000 m2 of storage space and 7 tracks for cargo handling. More about Halkalı Terminal.

Halkalı Terminal is also the most important hub on the European side for high-speed trains and crossing the Marmaray Tunnel.

Course of the Marmaray Tunnel

A passenger train in the Marmaray tunnel

The Marmaray Tunnel is a 13.6-kilometer-long railroad tunnel under the Bosphorus in Istanbul, which is considered the deepest tunnel running at the bottom of waters (so-called immersed tunnel) in the world. It connects Kazlıçeşme in Europe with Ayrılıkçeşmesi in Asia via the Marmaray line. The tunnel consists of two single-track tubes with three stations: Yenikapı, Sirkeci and Üsküdar.

The Marmaray Tunnel was opened to passenger traffic on October 29, 2013. In March 2019, connecting lines of the Marmaray project were also completed and put into operation.

Finally, on Nov. 13, 2019, the first freight train in history passed through the Marmaray Tunnel. On the route from the Chinese city of Xi'an to Prague, ÖBB Rail Cargo Group was responsible for the European part of the connection. Read more.

In 2020, 845 freight trains with 15,255 wagons already passed through the Marmaray Tunnel. They transported 370 tons of freight net and 700 tons of freight gross. Of these trains, 451 were bound for Europe and 394 for Asia.

A container train in the Marmaray tunnel

The importance of rail in Turkey

Until the mid-1950s, rail was the most important mode of transportation in Turkey. However, while the expansion of the road network was pushed in the following decades, the expansion of the rail network became more and more insignificant.

In the last 15 years, several mega projects were finally launched, including the Marmaray Tunnel. Turkey wants to expand its current 12,532 km rail network by an additional 10,000 km of high-speed rail lines and 4,000 km of conventional electrified rail lines by 2023. The government's major goal is to expand the existing rail network to 26,000 km by 2023 and 30,000 km by 2035.

The RCG at Logitrans 2021

By the way, from 10.11.2021 - 12.11.2021 we will be represented again with a booth at the logitrans in Istanbul. You will find all information in time on our website. Come by! To the official website.