EBRD supports privatisation of ferry operations in Istanbul

By Sergiy Grytsenko

The EBRD is helping to improve the reliability of the public transport system in Turkey’s most congested city. The Bank is supporting the privatisation of the world’s largest municipal ferry operator by injecting long-term finance into Istanbul’s urban transport sector.

It is the Bank’s first privatisation project with a transport operator in Turkey. The investment is part of the Bank’s wider approach to assist Turkey’s largest city in reforming its urban transport system.

The EBRD’s funds will enable Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. (IDO), a municipal ferry company, to achieve safer, cleaner, more efficient and more reliable ferry operations across the Bosphorus and the northern part of the Marmara Sea.

The EBRD is providing two loans of US$ 150 million in total to TASS, a consortium of three Turkish companies – Tepe Insaat, Akfen Holding, Sera Group Investments – and one UK company – Souter Investments – created to acquire IDO. The EBRD loans include a long-term senior loan of US$ 100 million and a medium-term junior loan of US$ 50 million. 

As part of its investment programme, TASS will introduce new service quality and management efficiency programmes to ensure the reliability and safety of ferry operations. The project also includes the introduction of new demand-driven ticket tariffs and envisages the creation of new routes and intermodal passenger transportation services.

In addition, TASS will overhaul retail and catering services that are currently offered on board 52 vessels and at 35 ferry terminals. The improvements are planned to be completed by the end of 2012.

“The EBRD shares Istanbul’s strong determination to develop the city’s urban transport system and meet its future mobility needs. Ferry services have been playing a major part in urban life and the history of Istanbul. The Bank is pleased to support the privatisation of one of the largest municipal ferry operators which will provide passengers with new and improved services,” said Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD Director for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure.

“We are delighted to receive the EBRD’s support, recognising the unique role that IDO plays in the Turkish maritime transportation sector. With its highly experienced professionals, IDO is a true leader in Turkey’s urban sea transportation.  Our commitment to introduce new and improved services across the Marmara region will take Istanbul’s ferry network to an even greater extent than it is today. We are pleased the EBRD shares our determination and vision in this key project,” added TASS Managing Director, Önder Sezgi.

In Turkey, the EBRD focuses on renewable and sustainable energy, small business development in the regions, agribusiness, municipal, environment and other infrastructure, and privatisation.

Since the beginning of its operations in Turkey in 2009, the EBRD has committed nearly €1 billion in about 30 projects with a total project value of around €2 billion, with 100 per cent of the projects being investments into the development of the private sector.