Following the UK leaving the European Union (Brexit), a trade agreement has come into effect with Turkey, preventing future tugboat sales being disrupted
This trade deal came into force on 1 January, securing existing preferential tariffs between the two nations and enabling ongoing trade in maritime systems and vessels.
It lays the foundations for selling new tugs built in Turkey to UK operators, improving towage capabilities in key ports to handle some of the world’s largest ships.
This trade agreement was signed by UK international trade secretary Liz Truss and Turkey’s minister for trade Ruhsar Pekcan during a video call on 29 December 2020.
At the time, Ms Truss said the deal covers more than £18Bn (US$24.7Bn) of trade, “delivering vital certainty for businesses and supporting thousands of jobs,” she said.
“It paves the way for a new, more ambitious deal with Turkey in the near future, and is part of our plan to put the UK at the centre of a network of modern agreements with dynamic economies,” Ms Truss continued.
For Ms Pekcan, it continues trade and further deepens ties between the two nations. “This is a historic deal for Turkish-UK relations,” she said.
The UK is Turkey’s second-largest export market, worth around US$11Bn a year and without the agreement, about 75% of Turkish exports to the UK would have been subject to tariffs, as would many UK goods exported to Turkey.
For tug builders such as Sanmar Shipyards, this trade deal enables more new tugs to be mobilised to UK ports in the future.
It provides certainty for businesses and protects thousands of jobs in both countries, said Sanmar commercial director Ruchan Civgin. “We are delighted that this deal has been done and are excited at the possibilities even closer ties between our two countries will provide,” he said.
“This agreement means we can continue to build on the excellent business relationships that we have with tug operators in the UK,” Mr Civgin continued.
“It enables us to focus on nurturing long-term partnerships with existing clients, while also offering attractive cost-effective terms to potential new customers.”
It is an important agreement for Sanmar, which has supplied 24 tugs to UK operators over the years. It delivered three new tugs to Scottish towage providers in 2020.
Two were azimuth stern drive (ASD) terminal support and escort tugs built to a Robert Allan design for the Orkney Island Council fleet in Scotland to provide towage and marine services in Scapa Flow. Odin of Scapa and Thor of Scapa were built to RAstar 3200SX design with 80 tonnes of bollard pull. These 32-m tugboats are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C main engines, each providing 2,350 kW. Propulsion comes from two Kongsberg US255 Z-drives.
A third Sanmar ASD tug was delivered to a UK operator in 2020. This was Queensferry, operated by Targe Towing at Ineos’ marine terminal at Hound Point on the Firth of Forth in Scotland. This Bogacay-class tug has 70 tonnes of bollard pull and assists tankers loading crude from the North Sea’s Forties pipeline system.
Other Turkey-based tug builders, including Bogazici Shipyard, Med Marine and Uzmar will also benefit from tariff-free trade with the UK.
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