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EBRD loan, a tailwind for Izmir ferries

By Olga Rosca

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is helping improve public transportation for over three million people with a €33 million loan to Izmir municipal ferry operator Izdeniz.

The financing will enable the company to buy three car ferries, build four wharves and a maintenance facility in a move to make sea transport more efficient, encouraging residents to avoid congested roads.

Situated on the Aegean coast, Izmir, the third-biggest city in Turkey, has a growing population and tourism is booming. There is an ever-increasing demand for public transportation.

With the new ferries and wharves, Izdeniz will be able to take more people and cars on board, expanding its operations and business volume. In addition, the EBRD loan comes with a grant provided by Austria, the Slovak Republic and the EBRD's Shareholder Special Fund to help Izdeniz operate as a commercial company in order to serve the municipality, the people of Izmir and its numerous visitors in a more efficient way.

"A ferry ride is a lovely way to get around the city and enjoy a spectacular cityscape and the view of the Aegean," said EBRD Director for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure Jean- Patrick Marquet. "Ferries are also fast, cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The EBRD loan will support Izdeniz in making ferries a real alternative to Izmir's crowded roads.

Contributions from Agence Francaise de Developpement and ING Bank as well as from the City of Izmir budget will finance the passenger ferries and associated infrastructure.

Helping municipal transport become more efficient, environmentally friendly and commercially oriented is an important goal of the EBRD in Turkey as it works to improve people's lives.

Since the beginning of its operations in Turkey in 2009, the EBRD has invested over €2.5 billion in the country, both in direct deals and through credit lines. Last year Turkey became the EBRD's second-largest country of operations with €1 billion in new investments in 2012 alone.

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