The Antalya Free Zone in Turkey is expanding its shipyard facilities to allow for the servicing of yachts up to 85m in length and a maximum 1,800 tonnage. At the moment, capacity is limited to yachts up to 55m and 600 tonnage.

A wintering area with a width of 15,000sq m will also be set up near the shore to increase the refit and maintenance abilities of the shipyards located in the zone.

Demand for refit and maintenance services in Turkey has grown over the past year, thanks to a new regulation that allows companies to provide these services to Turkish-flagged vessels that were not built in the zone.

Prior to the new regulation, only foreign-flagged vessels and those built in the Antalya Free Zone were allowed to enter zone.

ASBAŞ, which recently won the tender to operate the Antalya Free Zone for 20 years, plans to invest US$14m on expanding and renewing the area. US$6m has been allocated to shipyards and the other US$8m will be spent on infrastructure.

Emre Şandan, yard manager at Sarp Yacht and president of the Antalya Free Zone Businessmen’s Association, told IBI: "After the expansion, Antalya Free Zone will be the most important refit and maintenance area in the Mediterranean. It will take nearly two years’ time. One of the missions of the businessmen’s association is to work together with ASBAŞ to get the highest efficiencies from this investment.”

The Antalya Free Zone is home to local superyacht builders such as Sarp, CMB, Alya and Arkın Pruva. Damen is one of the biggest international shipyards in the zone.