Switzerland’s export credit agency (ECA) Serv is supporting a Turkish company’s purchase of trains for a new freight service linking Istanbul with the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heartland.

Serv is backing a €39mn loan provided by KfW Ipex-Bank to Turkey’s Arkas Group, which is developing a link from its planned Railport terminal in Istanbul to Duisport, an inland port near the German manufacturing hub of Essen.

Arkas Group is purchasing the locomotives from Swiss manufacturer Stadler, which will produce them at its factory in Valencia.

Railport, which is being jointly developed by Arkas and German logistics firm Duisport, will offer intermodal cargo services for Turkish exporters as well as provide a link to rail services to Asia via the Caucasus.

The new rail link is expected to cut freight delivery times from Turkey to northwest Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to between seven and nine days.

KfW-Ipex says the new route to Germany “will contribute to the modal shift from road to rail” and will run either electrically or using low-emissions engines.