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31 Aralık 2021 Cuma - 13:35

UND Chief Executive Officer Alper Özel, “The Weak Side Determines The Performance Of The Gates”

After the heavy waiting and long queues at the Kapıkule and Hamzabeyli border gates, the details of what should be done about the problem of the border gates and the source of the problem, Nuray Pekcan, the Editor-in-Chief of My Truck Magazine, is meeting with Alper Özel, the CEO of the International Transporters Association (UND), the sector representative.

UND Chief Executive Officer Alper Özel, “The Weak Side Determines The Performance Of The Gates”


Attracting attention to the importance of Kapıkule Border Gate, Özel said that; “This is the European Union-Eurasia Border Gate. Exports from the European Union to Eurasia also pass through here.”


Stating that the Habur Border Gate broke a record at the beginning of December, Özel states that the number of entries and exits exceeded 4 thousand. Stating that they expect a similar performance at Kapıkule Border Gate, Özel said that; “Our teams are measuring carbon dioxide at the İpsala Border Gate, and our friends are on duty for this 24 hours a day. There was a great need there, and in the last two months, we started our measurements with the initiative of our Thrace Trade and Customs Regional Manager and the support of our İpsala Trade and Customs Manager. With these measurements, illegal immigrants are also caught from time to time. As UND, we are carrying out this work because there are much more severe penal sanctions when crossing to the other side and in order to prevent this.”


“Crises Increased Transition to Highway”

Stating that exports have increased very rapidly, especially in the last six months, Özel emphasizes that the export share, which was 180 billion dollars last year, increased by 40 billion this year to 220 billion dollars. Stating that an important share of this is on the highway, Özel said that; “When we evaluate the pandemic period, it was unquestionably the road transport that gave the best test both at home and abroad. Of course, other modes also have a share in this export increase, but there are some crises experienced in those modes. Cases such as the container crisis and the ship tilting upside down in the Suez Canal inevitably increased the passage to the highway.”


“The Structure of the Gates Is Not Ready For Increase”

Stating that they put up a great struggle, but the weak side determines the performance of the gates, Özel continues by saying that; "This is a fact: When we look at 2018, the daily average exit from Kapıkule Border Gate was 800, while these numbers have increased to 1,200 and 1,300. This increase is especially the figure of the last six months, the capacity has been increased by 50 percent. We achieved this increase by meeting with the addressees of our Ministry of Commerce and our partner association as UND. During this period, we calculated every detail from the Kapitan Andreevo Border Gate to the human resources and forwarded these reports to the Bulgarian side. In this direction, some adjustments and improvements were made. With the improvements made in Hamzabeyli, the platforms were renewed and four new platforms were built. With a new tender opened now, it is said that two additional platforms will be built at the zero point at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing, especially for refrigerated vehicles.”


“Checks Also Slow Down the Process”

Pointing out that a government could not be formed in Bulgaria due to the elections for a long time, a new government took office in the last elections on November 14, and this process creates a problem, Özel states that the illegal immigrant factor also affects the region. Özel said that; “Due to the new immigration problem, the border police have been put on alert and they are carrying out additional checks with the EU Border Police Frontex. These checks also slow down and prolong the process a little more. However, despite all this, the Bulgarian side never fell below the 1,200 and 1,300 bands in purchases. They also say they are doing their best. However, the number of vehicles coming from the internal customs to the gates is very pressurized. While the number of vehicles arriving at the Kapıkule Border Gate is around 1,600 and 1,700 per day, this is not an easy number if 1,300 vehicles come out every day.”


“Our Goal at the Hamzabeyli Border Gate is a Thousand Vehicles”

Pointing out that their target is a thousand vehicles at the Hamzabeyli Border Gate, Özel states that according to the reports they presented, the number of personnel on the Bulgarian side is insufficient. Stating that the area where the carbon dioxide measurement is made at both gates is the narrowest point and the number of police in that area is insufficient, Özel said that; “If the number of personnel is increased at that point, vehicles will be more comfortable from Kapıkule from 10 platforms at the back and from Hamzabeyli from 4 platforms. They can go inside. If these are resolved, the numbers will increase.”


“This is the European Union-Eurasia Border Gate”

Özel states that with the agreement of Turkey, Bulgaria and the European Union, they want the gate to be treated as a single gate, and underlines that actions such as carrying out the controls of both parties together, border police working together, accepting the transaction at one gate at the other gate are the most ideal solutions. Özel said that; “Of course, this requires a political decision. Once the political decision has been made, there is no reason why it should not be carried out. What we advocate is; that this is not just the Turkey-Bulgaria border gate. This is the European Union-Eurasia Border Gate. Exports from the European Union to Eurasia also pass through here. Not only Turkish vehicles pass through our border gates, but also vehicles from every country. Therefore, the shipper of the other party also loses 90 hours at this door. Therefore, it is not only our problem, but also the problem of the European Union. On the other hand, we are thinking about how we can improve the current situation and how we can move it forward.”


“They Know and Address UND”

Stating that they shared the issue with the Bulgarian association they are cooperating with and that they are supporting them in every way, Özel also states that they explained the problem to national and international institutions. Özel said that; “Our job is to tell and persuade with knowledge. We show it with reports and figures. That's why UND's reputation is high abroad and in the European Union. Therefore, the contribution of our foreign representatives is very important here. When we request an appointment from an institution, everyone steps in and we make those appointments. They know and address UND. UND is more than an association. We have a strong corporate culture and our corporate memory is very good. Therefore, we do not have any difficulty in persuading with information when we go to a place because of this. Of course, when international relations are involved, it does not happen immediately, but we always convey all these problems to the highest level people.”


“We Are Doing Our Part Both As A State And As A Non-Governmental Organization”

Stating that the narrowing point  at the Bulgarian side, Özel states that the improvements to be made are clearly evident and that there will be relief when the improvements are implemented. Stating that the Bulgarian side knew about this and did not state otherwise, Özel concluded his words as follows: “We see in the presented report and interviews that they have taken ownership of the issue. The Ministry of Commerce is working very hard on this issue. We are doing our part both as a state and as a non-governmental organization.”

Fatih Şener, UND Vice Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors, ''I Imagine A Gate, Both Sides Are Made The Same With One Project"
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