Competition heats up for ferry lines in Marmara Sea

Competition heats up for ferry lines in Marmara Sea

Competition heats up for ferry lines in Marmara Sea

Negmar’s Narlı will provide an alternative between Topçular and Eskihisar. DHA photo

Istanbul Seabuses and Fast Ferries Inc. (İDO), which once held a transit monopoly in the waterways around Istanbul, could soon be forced to share its piece of the pie with newcomers such as Bursa’s BUDO and Negmar’s Narlı Feribotlar.

Negmar, a subsidiary of Gübretaş, which transports trucks in the Marmara Sea, has purchased three ships and will begin transporting passenger cars from Topçular to Eskihisar in the Yalova-Istanbul region of Northwestern Turkey, rivaling İDO’s monopoly in those waters. The passenger ferries are expected to begin operating on Oct. 25, according to a written announcement from the company. Ships will run 24 hours per day non-stop, and the company has invested 60 million Turkish Liras in order to begin offering the service, according to the statement.

İDO’s current capacity is not adequate to meet the demand in the Marmara, Negmar Chairman Abdullah Kutlu said. “We noticed that passengers were looking for new ventures, and decided to make this investment, establishing Narlı Feribot İşletmeciliği. We will transport passengers between Eskihisar and Topçular in five ships. We have currently bought three and will purchase two more.”

Bursa Municipality, meanwhile, is also preparing to launch BUDO, its alternative to İDO, within the coming month. Bursa Municipality has signed an agreement with Istanbul Municipality’s Intra-city Lines to use its Kabataş pier, according to the Anatolia News Agency.

“At first they thought we were bluffing, but we immediately jumped into action. Now we have bought two ships. … We are also about to sign an agreement for another two ships, [which may be] rented or purchased,” said Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe.