In order to provide a rail transit link between Turkey and Iran, the Sultan Alparslan Ferry started its operations to provide freight and passenger services on Lake Van as of 15 January 2018.
The ferry has four tracks (125 metres each) which is equivalent to 500 metres of track length in total, a capacity of 50 wagons, 3.875 tonnes of freight and 350 passengers.
The 136 metre-long ferry was designed by Turkish engineers and manufactured by Turkish workers and engineers in Tatvan Shipyard in the city of Van, Turkey. Its generators were produced by Tulomsas, an affiliated company of TCDD. The manufacturing of the second ferry is still in progress at the same shipyard.
The Sultan Alparslan Ferry is expected to improve railway transit transport along maritime routes, to increase the trade volume, and thus contribute to Turkey’s economy. By removing this bottleneck in Van Lake transit, it is believed that there will be an opportunity for faster and seamless transport between Turkey and Iran as well as in the One Belt One Road Initiative and Middle Corridor where Turkey is regarded as an important element. Connecting the countries in Central Asia and Caucasus to the European and world market via Turkey will therefore be possible.