On the 1st day of the Turkish Railways Summit held at Sirkeci Station, the Countries Special Session moderated by journalist Hakan Çelik was attended by TCDD General Manager Ali İhsan Uygun, German Railways President Dr. Christoph Lerche, Giovanni Rocca from Italian Railways, Neli Nikolaeva from Bulgarian Railways, Alvaro Andres Alguacil, Spanish Infrastructure Manager, participated as panelists.
TCDD General Manager Ali İhsan Uygun, in his speech at the session held in the form of a teleconference, stated the following;
"Railways have many advantages compared to other modes of transportation, and thus, they are a transportation instrument that will be preferred much more in the future. Railways are environmentally friendly, economical, and sustainable as a natural result of these two advantages.
- It enables more freight and passenger transportation at one time and at an affordable cost,
- Logistics as a mode of transportation that increases the speed, capability and capacity of industrial production depending on logistics, marks the 21st century all over the world.
In this context, the era we are in in the transportation and logistics sector is called the "New Railway Age" not only in our country but all over the world.
However, railways are a costly industry. Significant investments must be made in railways in order to ensure the sustainability of our country in line with the overall development goals. Due to this requirement, 18 billion TL has been invested in our railways, which have been transformed into a state policy by our governments in the last 167,5 years.
Increasing the public burden in investment and operating costs in the railway sector in the world and in our country, the rapid development of other transportation modes, the needs in the logistics sector and the change in passenger expectations have created a need for restructuring for a more competitive and sustainable railway sector. In order to provide this structuring, many exemplary reform applications have been made in the world and continue to be done.
With these reform processes;
- To reduce the obligations and expenditures of the state
- Defining the railway management relationship with the state
- Transforming into a structure that does not harm in order to maintain both operational and financial efficiency
- To create a competitive environment and to ensure liberalization
- Ensuring fair and transparent access to infrastructure
- Increasing the share of the railway sector in transportation
- It is aimed to provide services suitable for needs in a timely and agile manner.
As an example of reforms in the world;
For example in Germany;
- Despite the initiation of reform work in the 1960s, the first major step was the establishment in 1994 of DB AG, a 100% state-owned joint stock company of West Berlin, East and West German Railways.
- In 1999, the second change took place and 4 separate departments under DB AG were transformed into 5 separate companies and a holding structure was started.
- Afterwards, it continues to develop in line with the European Union directives.
If in Russia:
- While there was a state monopoly in Russia before 2001, the groundwork for the holding structure was prepared with various reform initiatives.
- Legal infrastructure preparations for reform started between 1995-2001.
- The legal framework for the reform between 2001-2003 was established and the holding company was established.
- Since 2003, we observe that reforms in areas such as the establishment of holding companies and the development of competition have continued.
In this context, recent reforms in the world have been experienced in France, England, Spain, Ukraine and India.
France has structured its infrastructure and transportation companies as SNCF group holding as of 2019,
Ukraine signed a 10-year joint operating agreement with the German railways at the governmental level for the transition of Ukrainian railways to the group company model,
England started to work to revise the franchising model after the Pandemic and took the first step to manage infrastructure and private transport companies under a new roof under the name of the Railway Coordination Group,
In Spain, in order to protect the national railway in the increasing competition for passenger and freight transportation in Europe, plans have started to gather infrastructure and transportation companies under a single company. Likewise, Indian Railways, one of the oldest railways in the world, made radical decisions on behalf of corporatization.
In order to revitalize the railways that play a decisive role in the development and independence of our country and to strengthen their role in transportation; There is a need to establish a free, competitive, economically and socially sustainable railway sector in line with the European Union legislation.
In addition to the increasing continuation of the large investments made in the railway sector in recent years, the need to regulate the sector and restructure TCDD has arisen.
When we look at the infrastructure development of our country since the past;
- Our pre-Republic railway network was 4 thousand 136 kilometers.
- During the Republic period, between 1923 and 1950, a total of 134 kilometers of railways were built, with an average of 3 kilometers per year.
- During the 1951-2002 period, a total of 18 kilometers of railways were built with an average of 945 kilometers per year.
- Thanks to the priority given to the railway sector since 2003, a total of 153 thousand 2 kilometers of new railways were built with an average of 761 kilometers per year.
- Our railway length, which was 2003 thousand 10 kilometers in 959, increased to 1213 thousand 2019 kilometers as of 12, with 803 kilometers of the High Speed Train line. The proportion of double lines increased from 5 percent to 13 percent.
In addition to infrastructure investments, it has become inevitable for our country to realize reforms that enable the actors in the sector to be more active in order to increase the share of railways in freight and passenger transportation.
In this framework, when we look at the reform process of our country;
The adventure that started in 1856 gained speed with the establishment of the Railways Administration in 1872 and the nationalization of the lines that have been in the hands of foreign companies since 1924.
When the years, while continuing the process of establishment under various names by the year 1953 "the Republic of Turkey State Railways (TCDD)" was connected to a state-owned enterprise under the name Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
In 2011, the first step of liberalization in railways, regulation and inspection institutions were established and these duties were taken from TCDD and only the status of implementers was achieved.
With the regulation in 2013, the TCDD monopoly in railway transportation was removed. Legal basis for railway transportation activities has been established in line with the EU legislation.
In 2017, as a result of liberalization, TCDD Tasimacilik AS was established as the fourth subsidiary of TCDD and private companies also started freight transportation.
In 2020, 3 railway vehicle production organizations affiliated to TCDD were united under one roof and directly connected to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure under the name TÜRASAŞ.
Passenger transportation by TCDD Taşımacılık AŞ will be opened to the participation of private companies by 2021, and liberalization in passenger transportation will be completed.
I believe that the Turkish Railway Summit, where railways are handled in such a comprehensive and qualified manner, will be a sign of important developments. " said.