Ekol Logistics has started processing cargo through its Yalova ro-ro terminal in north-west Turkey, following an investment of €40m ($47m).

The first shipment of freight was sent to the northern Italian port of Trieste aboard Alternative Transport’s ro-ro vessel Qezban. Ekol has a 65% stake in Europa Multipurpose Terminals, which handles the ro-ro cargo at Trieste.

The 80,000 sq.m Yalova terminal, which is being run by the company’s subsidiary, Yalova RoRo Terminals, has capacity for 500 trailers and a dock with two ramps, as well as a short-term overflow storage area of 16,000 sq.m. Currently, the terminal is only handling finished vehicles in containers but it is seeking authorisation from the customs authority for a finished vehicle bonded area.

A spokesperson for Ekol said that subject to demand, it had the potential to make arrangements for additional space to park finished vehicle volumes near the port.

The opening of the Yalova terminal means Ekol has shifted operations from Haydarpasa port, on the opposite side of the Bosphorus, to Istanbul, which is subject to road congestion. The company said the terminal would take 100,000 trailers out of Istanbul and provide traffic relief to both Haydarpaşa and Harem-Üsküdar. It added that this would save 4m kilometres of road travel and 1.5m litres of diesel.

"This investment was made in the most logistically relevant region of Turkey and will support the efforts of all our exporters, especially the automotive industry,” said Ahmet Musul, chairman of Ekol Logistics. “Our investments have contributed to the development of both our company and the industry as a whole; this will soon help us produce much better solutions based on quality and profit.”

The terminal at Trieste handles trailers and containerised goods, including automotive parts, and serves Turkish and Greek ro-ro vessels. While there are no plans for finished vehicle handling this year, a spokesperson for Ekol said this would begin in 2018 with an initial daily capacity of 200 vehicles.

Last month, Ekol started a new block train service between Trieste and the port of Zeebrugge, in Belgium.