The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a EUR27.5 million (USD32 million) loan to Turkey-based Alternative Transport to finance the acquisition of a EUR55.5 million (USD64.6 million) ro-ro vessel.

According to EBRD, the ro-ro vessel Meleq will have a capacity of 283 trailers to carry wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trucks, trailers or railway carriages.

An additional EUR4.5 million (USD5.2 million) junior loan will be provided under the EBRD's Green Logistics Programme, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility, while Turkey's Isbank is providing a EUR16 million (USD18.6 million) loan.

The new cargo ship will enable the firm's expansion on the route connecting the Port of Haydarpasa, Istanbul and the north-eastern Italian port city of Trieste, says EBRD.

"Although the importance of ro-ro transportation between Europe and Turkey is increasing rapidly, shipping companies in Turkey suffer from scarce access to long-term financing," said Sue Barrett, EBRD director for transport.

"This is our second transaction with Alternative Transport, as we believe shipping operations are not only a successful business but also support a cleaner, safer and more efficient transport system for the country's booming trade," Barrett adds.

The support of EBRD is in line with Alternative Transport's strategy to develop its infrastructure through new vessels, trucks, warehouses and ports as well as increase intermodal solutions linking major European ports, says Ahmet Musul, Alternative Transport founder and chairman.