A new sea link between Greece’s Lavrio and Turkey’s Cesme ports will be launched in June in what is expected to boost trade between the two Aegean neighbors by circumventing long overland travel for large trucks, state-run Athens-Macedonian news agency reports. The line will also serve tourists wishing to travel between the two countries.
Shipping agents in both countries will run the line through Istanbul-based Aegean Sea Ways. Its representative in Greece is Stefmar Ltd.
According to company officials, the 7-hour trip between the two ports will be available year-round. The vessel will be IMO-certified for 2020 and able to transport 1,200 passengers, 300 vehicles and 40 trucks on each trip. It is expected to be registered under a European Union flag.
“Until now, nearly 440,000 trucks from Turkey and another 300,000 from Iran and Azerbaijan go through Bulgaria or northern Greece's Egnatia Highway to Igoumenitsa (the port on western Greece), under great stress and at high operational cost,” Stefmar Managing Director Stefanos Karakanis told ANA-MPA.
“A truck driver or a tourist or passenger arriving from Ancona, Italy usually sails to Igoumenitsa, from where they have to travel nearly 600 to 700 kilometres through Egnatia Highway, waiting at the Turkish border controls for 6 or 7 hours in winter and up to 12 hours in the summer before reaching Izmir or further inland into Turkey after another 6 to 10 hours of driving,” Karakanis said.
The new line will allow a passenger, tourist, or truck driver to reach Izmir from Ancona and Patras and Lavrio in 1.5 days, he said.