Operating at speeds of up to 200 km/h, this high-speed rail link will reduce travel time from Gaziantep to Mersin from six hours to two hours – the second largest container port in Turkiye and a thriving city of over one million people – by four hours, with the improved transportation connectivity expected to generate a significant economic boost to the area.
With a presence in over 30 countries and a successful track record of delivering more than €40bn of complex and large-scale infrastructure projects worldwide, with over 70% of its revenues generated from international business outside Turkiye, Rönesans Holding brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this ambitious railway endeavour. The project is the latest in the company’s long history of successful strategic partnerships from all around the world, having worked with partners and shareholders including Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Meridiam, a Paris-based infrastructure fund, Japanese trading house Sojitz Corporation, and International Finance Corporation (IFC), of the World Bank Group which is a shareholder in Rönesans, and Samsung CT, among others.
Leveraging its global network of over 30,000 professionals, the company is well-positioned to implement the cutting-edge solutions and innovative technologies needed to construct and operate a high-speed electrified railway in an area known to experience seismic activity.
Dr. Erman Ilıcak, President of Rönesans Holding, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, "This railway line is a hugely exciting development for southern Turkiye and will also see Rönesans strengthen its relationships with key UK suppliers. We are delighted to be appointed to the project, and to work together with such prolific UK businesses to bring this high-speed electrified railway to life. This truly collaborative project will not only enhance our relationship with UK exporters, it will also revolutionise rail links in Turkiye, significantly enhancing the region's industrial connectivity and trade while actively reducing negative environmental impact."
The financing for this project has been supported by the UK government's export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), which has underwritten €781m of funding (equivalent to £680m) of the €923 million total project financing. The loan was provided by a number of global financial institutions, including JP Morgan, ING, and BNP Paribas. This pan-European deal also includes involvement from Italian and Austrian export credit agencies, SACE and OeKB, who will be providing the necessary reinsurance to secure the project for Turkish rail infrastructure.
UKEF's support for the railway project opens new multimillion-pound export contract opportunities for collaboration between UK suppliers and Rönesans Group. Discussions are already underway to negotiate contracts for essential components, including signalling equipment, ESG consultancy services, and mechanical components. The project's success is aligned with the growth in national production and construction outputs experienced this year, promising even greater prospects for UK exporters.
This ambitious railway project will play a crucial role in Turkiye's efforts to achieve its environmental goals and increase high-speed railway coverage in the country to 10,000km. Spanning a distance greater than that between Cardiff and London, the railway will enable faster and more efficient travel, benefitting regional infrastructure and growth. It will also establish strategic connections with airports, ports, and industrial zones in the hinterlands, including many major cities like Adana and Gaziantep, as well as larger cities in Southeastern Anatolia such as Hatay, Diyarbakır, and Şanlıurfa, and also Central Anatolia.
The electric railway will replace the current diesel locomotive-operated railway, providing a lower-carbon and more sustainable alternative between Mersin and Gaziantep. Project forecasts indicate that the completed route will save an impressive 157,000 tonnes in CO2e emissions in its first year alone. By reducing travel time and increasing the usage of railways, it will alleviate traffic congestion and accidents on highways, while promoting a much more sustainable transportation system by reducing carbon emissions.
The project also plays a significant part in the wider reconstruction efforts following the devastating twin earthquakes that struck Turkiye in February 2023. By contributing to the rebuilding of Gaziantep, Osmaniye, and other areas severely impacted by the disaster, the railway will aid in the region's recovery and growth. Under the leadership of Dr. Erman Ilıcak, the President, and İpek Ilıcak Kayaalp, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, this is of particular importance to Rönesans, who played a key role in the disaster relief efforts, and remain committed to the cause collaborating with UNICEF and UNFPA on active projects to aid the areas and people affected.
Rönesans Holding is dedicated to fostering sustainable and innovative transportation solutions, and this high-speed electrified railway is a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship and economic progress.