Lebanon Businessnews News

Sea route links Tripoli port to Turkey's Mersin
Weekly ferry connection hoped will boost bilateral trade and tourism
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A new ferry route connecting the Port of Tripoli to the Turkish port of Mersin was launched recently.

Two ships, a ferry boat and a ro-ro ship - designed to carry motor vehicles -, will make weekly trips from Mersin to Tripoli carrying passengers and cargo. The new Lebanon-Mersin connection is hoped to boost bilateral tourism.

“The first ro-ro ship reached Tripoli’s port during the weekend,” said Ahmad Tamer, director general of the Port of Tripoli. He said that the first trip was a test case for “a promising future cooperation” between the two ports.

This ferry service is in response to the growing hardships faced by passengers and transit cargo travelling overland to Turkey via Syria, in view of the current crisis in that country. “Both Turkey and Lebanon will benefit from the new route, which is vital for the trade sector,” said Tamer.

While the cost-effectiveness of the new route is not yet confirmed, sea shipping is normally more expensive than overland transport. “Sea-shipping seems a safer option in light of the unfortunate circumstances. It is time-saving and ensures the delivery of shipments,” said Tamer.

Tamer said that the crew of the ships will be Turkish, but all service-related crew will be Lebanese.

The ships, both owned by private Turkish firms, will appoint agents in both countries to coordinate operations and handle payment collection. The ferry vessel ‘Azzurra’ can carry 700 passengers, and can accommodate up to 170 cars and 25 trucks. The ro-ro ship ‘Mersin Ro-Ro’ will mainly carry semi-trailer trucks.

Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Jun 13, 2012
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