On 6 February, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit southern Turkey near the northern border of Syria, followed by a 7.5 magnitude aftershock. The earthquakes occurred near the East Anatolia fault and resulted in widespread damage and loss of life, with nearly 5,000 people believed to have been killed.
The earthquake heavily impacted logistics and transport infrastructure in the region, as a fire erupted at the Port of Iskenderun in Turkey resulting in a complete stop of all operations.
The Turkish Maritime Authority announced on Twitter that after the earthquake, inspections were conducted at ports besides Iskenderun.
The Director-General at Turkey’s Transport Ministry said that:
“It was determined that docks at Iskenderun Port have collapsed during the assessment of damage to our coastal facilities.”
Roads in the area have also been heavily affected, and truck movements are not taking place at this time. In light of the situation, shipping companies are planning to divert containers to nearby hubs within operational feasibility or hold at transhipment ports.
Maersk will perform a change of destination for all bookings bound for the Port of Iskenderun or already on the water.
Maersk plans to divert containers to nearby hubs within operational feasibility or hold at transshipment ports, including the Port of Mersin and Port Said.
In response to the earthquake, the carrier said all booking cancellations, amendments, and changes of destination will be free of charge for Iskenderun and Mersin bookings throughout the month of February.
It is not yet clear when the Port of Iskenderun will see a return to normal operations.