Due to the fire caused by the earthquake in 6th January 2023 in South East of Turkey, ship loading and unloading operations have temporarily stopped at Iskenderun International Port as of February as of 6th. During the earthquake, many containers were overturned or shifted due to the intense shaking. A fire triggered by the earthquake was extinguished on February 13th. Of the 5,400 containers in the yard, 3,670 were destroyed in the fire. The damage status of the overturned containers will be determined separately, and it was found that about 1,730 containers were also burned along with their contents. Meanwhile, intensive efforts are underway to resume loading and unloading operations at Iskenderun International Port as soon as possible after the fire disaster.
During the pause period, a great amount of cargo operations had been shifted to Mersin where the port is working with overcapacity. Mersin International Port (MIP) management has announced that measures have been taken to alleviate the congestion at the port. In the wake of the earthquake disaster that occurred in Kahramanmaraş, which caused significant damage in 11 provinces, MIP is working to ensure the continuity of regional and national trade. In addition to using the port’s quays and areas to the fullest extent possible, MIP is continuing to provide service with additional external areas for which applications have been made, and the process is expected to be finalized.
To improve capacity utilization, MIP has implemented the following measures: a controlled gate entry system has been introduced based on ship priority for export-full gate entries. Every day at 11:00 am, which ships are open for gate entry will be updated on the website’s pier plan tab. For ships whose gate entry status is not open, full container gate entry will not be possible. Refrigerated and IMDG full containers will continue to have gate entry.
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Mersin Chamber of Shipping General Secretary Captain Mesut Öztürk stated in a press conference that, as is well known, a fire broke out in the overturned containers due to the earthquake at Iskenderun Port. The fire, which lasted for several days, was brought under control with intervention from the sea, land, and air.
Due to the fire, port cargo handling services were suspended, and port traffic was closed to incoming ships, and waiting for ships were directed to other facilities. The fact that Iskenderun Port was out of service led to a significant buildup in the private docks and ports in Mersin, Adana, and Iskenderun Bay. This congestion not only increased delivery times but also had a negative impact on industrialists’ raw material procurement. Shipping traffic at Mersin Port had already been heavy in recent times, with ships’ sea waiting and operation times longer than usual. With the addition of the earthquake’s effects on Iskenderun Port, this congestion has worsened, with more than 40 ships expected to wait offshore at Mersin Port currently.
Source: Heisenberg Shipping