The Future of Public Transport at Sea was Discussed at the Road2Tunnel Fair

The Future of Public Transport at Sea was Discussed at the RoadTunnel Fair
The Future of Public Transport at Sea was Discussed at the Road2Tunnel Fair

In the Maritime Forum section organized in cooperation with İZDENİZ, the future of maritime public transportation and carbon-free watercraft were discussed.

The Transcity Sustainable Transportation, Livable Cities Forum was also held together with the Road2Tunnel – 5th International Highways, Bridges and Tunnels Specialization Fair organized in cooperation with İZFAŞ and ARK Fair Organization, hosted by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality. In the Maritime Forum section of the Forum, where the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable urban transportation systems were discussed, “Urban Maritime Transportation Management Policies – Public & Private Sector Collaboration” and “Efficiency in Marine Vehicles, New Generation Energy”. Systems and Future Technologies”, the future of maritime public transportation and carbon-free watercraft were discussed.

In the session titled “Urban Sea Transportation Management Policies – Public & Private Sector Cooperation” moderated by Yusuf Öztürk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Izmir Branch of the Chamber of Shipping; Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Lines General Manager Sinem Dedetaş, Istanbul Sea Buses (IDO) General Manager Murat Orhan, TURYOL Chairman of the Board Yunus Can, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality İZDENİZ Chairman of the Board Osman Hakan Erşen and Maritime History Writer Ali Bozoğlu took part as speakers.

The Future of Public Transport at Sea was Discussed at the RoadTunnel Fair

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Lines General Manager Sinem Dedetaş stated that they carried 42 million passengers annually before the pandemic and said, “When we include the private sector, there is an annual number of passengers that reaches 90 million. 2,5 million people move in New York, one of the largest metropolises in the world. Istanbul is the place with the most sea public transportation in Europe. The number of passengers is extremely high on a world scale and in an important place. The fiction of Istanbul, when you look at it, is a city settled in the Bosphorus. Before the land, the public transport sea route in Istanbul. Today, its share in public transportation has decreased to 3 percent” and explained that they are working to increase the share.

Sinem Dedetaş, stating that increasing maritime transportation cannot be done only by opening new lines to the sea or by putting new vehicles, said, “Today we are racing against time, we prefer the fastest means of transportation. According to a study; 15 million Istanbulites can reach a bus stop within 500 meters of their homes. While 13 million Istanbul residents can access the metro station, only around 900 thousand Istanbulites can reach the pier. In order to increase the share in the total, it is necessary to analyze the current situation well and use the resources correctly. Considering the current conditions, making an efficient analysis and considering the total benefit, a planning should be made. By providing the integration of land, rail systems and maritime transportation, studies are carried out to increase the share in the total by carrying out feeding works to the sea with shorter distance transportations.

Electric ferry fleet to Istanbul

Dedetaş also stated that they are working to decarbonize the seas in Istanbul and said, “We are planning to move to a joint fleet with the public and private sectors regarding this. When we unite the fleet, we will switch to an efficient working model. When Istanbul is mentioned, the ferry comes to mind, one of its iconic symbolic values. We are planning to have new steamships that we will preserve the iconic image. Providing fleet unity is also important in terms of expense management. It has a commitment to make Istanbul carbon-free by 2050. We need to serve with a carbon-free fleet by eliminating the steamship and engine separation. Turkish shipyards are specialized in making electric boats. There is no problem in producing electric boats, we are planning to build a fleet of electric boats, the number of which will increase to 100 over time.”

Sea transportation in Izmir

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality İZDENİZ Chairman of the Board of Directors Osman Hakan Erşen stated that they carry 800 thousand vehicles and 18 million passengers annually, and said, “We serve with 7 ships in vehicle transportation. We achieved the main success here by increasing the number of voyages with the increase in the number of ships. Despite the increase in fuel and personnel costs, we operate every 15 minutes on all lines at peak hours, and when it is not enough, we immediately switch to the fill and unload system by activating the spare ships. For example, on September 9, we carried 5 thousand vehicles, 82 thousand passengers were transported. Our Mayor Tunç Soyer's vision, we tried to build a floating bridge as we do not have underpasses and rail systems, as we do not have bridges like in Istanbul. We have achieved this on a small scale, we can meet the current need, but if necessary, we can increase the number by launching 7 of the 7 ships. Our main problem is the pier, as the number of voyages increases, there may be delays in berthing. We thought of making this line from Alsancak as well, but the fact that Alsancak Port is a bonded area ties our hands for now. Necessary negotiations are continuing, and if we can, we are considering opening the Bostanlı - Alsancak line as a second line," he said.

Erşen said, “Our main problem is that, just like in Istanbul, our ticket prices are only one third of our costs. This service is currently running with the support of our Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Otherwise, something that is physically impossible as a shipping company continues. I hope there will be developments in this regard, so that our losses will decrease. It is not the damage that a shipping company can physically bear after fuel hikes. Unfortunately, our cruise ships are in the same situation. We are doing our best not to reduce the service quality and flights. In fact, in addition to the intra-Gulf transportation, we started the Urla, Mordoğan and Foça flights, which we organized in the summer season, as well as the flights from İzmir to Mytilene.”

Public transport at sea is not possible without incentives

Murat Orhan, General Manager of Istanbul Sea Buses (IDO), stated that they have been providing intercity services rather than in-city services and said, “Many competitions have developed against us. The remuneration policy of Osmangazi Bridge is like an annual increase of 25 percent. Fuel expenses also put pressure on all our international lines. Pricing also affected us very negatively. We all know the costs. The main cost items are; fuel, personnel, maintenance and repair, insurance, rent are 94 percent of all expenses. Even if you save the rest, it is not possible to solve the problem. Due to similar problems, we have been absent from domestic lines since 2019, we only transport vehicles and passengers between Sirkeci and Harem. Public transportation at sea is not an activity that is possible without incentives. It is difficult in terms of sustainability," he said, saying that Hatay Metropolitan Municipality made the Hatay - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus voyages with its own sea buses, that they were working for the Aegean islands, and that the negotiations on this issue in Marmaris, Fethiye and Bodrum were with both the official authorities and the Greek authorities for 2023. announced that it is continuing.

Support is required

Yunus Can, Chairman of the Board of TURYOL, stated that they carry 55-60 thousand passengers daily and that they provide ship charter services to the public, and said, “The sea is the area where the least investment will be made in order to increase sea transportation. There must be a land integration that can feed them. As a result of making this healthy, the number of passengers will increase both in Istanbul and Izmir. Expressing that he has no objections to the fleet unity targeted in Istanbul, Yunus Can also drew attention to the increasing costs and said that maritime public transportation must be supported and subsidized by the central or local administrations. Naval History Writer Ali Bozoğlu also talked about the adventure of maritime transportation from history to the present.

New generation energy systems

In the second session of the forum, “Efficiency in Naval Vehicles, New Generation Energy Systems and Technologies of the Future” was discussed. In the session moderated by Osman Hakan Erşen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality İZDENİZ, Ercan Türkoğlu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of İZENERJİ and İZDENİZ, Physics Department of METU Faculty of Arts and Sciences Prof. Dr. Bülent Gültekin Akınoğlu, NAVTEK Marine Technologies Inc. General Manager Ferhat Acuner and Aksoy Ship Gelibolu Shipyard Member Oya Aksoy took part as speakers. In terms of environmental and sustainable maritime, the importance of electric ships was emphasized in order to avoid carbon emissions. Experts, new generation electric vehicles; He drew attention to the importance of operating it using 100% renewable energy sources without harming people, the environment and energy resources. It was also stated that we are among the major countries whose shipyards are adequately equipped and ready in this regard. Drawing attention to the low cost of energy compared to fossil fuel vehicles, the experts said that there should be incentives for carbon-free vessels and that this should be paved with government support.

In the last part of the forum, İZDENİZ Board Member Author Muzaffer Ayhan Kara was a speaker, and a Transportation in the Gulf from Past to Present session was held.

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