The Turkish cargo port of Iskenderun remained closed for operations on Tuesday after a deadly earthquake struck the region, killing thousands of residents in Turkey and Syria and sparking a large fire in stacks of shipping containers that had collapsed in the shaking.
Hundreds of fallen containers were engulfed in flame after Monday’s earthquake, burning until firefighters extinguished the blaze on Tuesday, according to published reports.
One company affected by the closure of the Mediterranean port is A.P. Moller – Maersk, which on Tuesday said it was not accepting any new bookings to and from Iskenderun. The company said it was currently developing contingency plans involving nearby hubs and additional feeder vessels, with the aim of minimizing the overall impact on customers and their supply chains. “The Port of Iskenderun remains closed until further notice, as teams look to repair the significant damage caused by the disaster and subsequent fire. We are currently unable to say exactly how long operations will be stopped at the port, but we will keep customers informed of the latest developments as soon as possible,” Maersk said in a release.
The quake has also blocked trucks from being able to access the port, due to significant damage to logistics and transport infrastructure around its epicenter in Pazarcik, Kahramanmaras, the company said. “Given the situation at Iskenderun, we will need to perform a change of destination for all bookings bound for the port or already on the water. We are currently planning to divert containers to nearby hubs within operational feasibility or hold at transhipment ports - including Port of Mersin and Port Said,” Maersk said.
French cargo giant CMA CGM was also diverting cargo from the smoldering port on Tuesday, sending those shipments to the neighboring Turkish port of Mersin.
Also affected was the maritime shipping line Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), which has had operations in Turkey since 1995. MSC extends its deepest sympathies to all those affected. It’s a very worrying time for our colleagues in the region, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones and the people of Türkiye during these challenging times,” MSC said in a release.
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is also tracking the damage. “The images of destruction that Turkey and Syria have experienced are shocking and we are only beginning to understand the extent of their impact on ports and the global supply chain,” AAPA CEO Chris Connor said in a release. “Our hearts mourn all the lives lost. We also offer our best wishes to those engaged in recovery efforts and hope for a speedy reopening of the ports so they can help facilitate relief efforts.”
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