The new facility features an unloading terminal, a 40,000-metric-ton flat container and four 44,000-metric-ton silos for storing grains, oilseeds and meal.
In addition, the port can handle two fully-loaded Panamax vessels per month - around 120,000 to 140,000 metric tons of oilseeds and grains and gives Bunge control of vessel management, freight handling and warehousing.
This should allow it to capture a greater margin on imports and become a low-cost handler.
Turkey is a high-potential market for food and agribusiness, with a rising population, a low average age and increasing affluence. Bunge felt that to fully to capitalise on this potential, it needed to lower costs and increase the volume of product it could move in and out of the market.
Indeed Turkey has always been an important market for Bunge. Last year, the group crushed roughly 250,000 metric tons of sunflower seeds and soybeans at domestic facilities in the country.
A new port was felt to be the clear solution. Turkey is a net importer of oilseeds, so Bunge needed an efficient way to get oilseeds and grains from our origination operations in North and South America to our local crushing plants, where they could be transformed into meal and oil to service the nation's livestock and food industries.
The location of the new port was therefore important. Derince sits on the northern coast of Izmit Bay, a deep-water inlet that stretches eastward from the Sea of Marmara. Nearly 25 per cent of Turkey's population resides around Izmit Bay, and the region is the heart of the country's food production activity.
Some 40 per cent of Turkey's poultry producers operate within 15 kilometers of the bay. This means that the products Bunge handles at the port are just a short trip away from processing plants and end customers.
Derince will also serve as a gateway for other production and consumption markets. Bunge will be able to source products from improving farm economies in Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria to sell in Turkey and in growing areas of consumption in North Africa and the Middle East.
Indeed, Bunge sees the completion of the port facility as continuing its strategy of integrating its logistics network across geography, product and operation. The firm is looking to consolidate its position as the world's leading oil processor and seller of bottled vegetable oils.
In 2003, Bunge shipped nearly 17 million tons of oil and meal to 70 countries, while global soybean production has grown annually by 4.2 per cent for the past five years.
"Our two main growth drivers are the increase in global income and the increase in global population," chief financial officer William Wells told www.investors.com.
"As people get a little wealthier, they want to eat better. That's driving demand for our products."
Global capita is projected to rise 15 per cent by 2010, while fat and oil consumption is projected to increase 50 per cent between 1995 and 2010. Bunge is therefore well positioned to benefit as developing nations begin to consume more meats and vegetable oils.