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Navigating the Future: Istanbul Hosts UITP Waterborne Community

  • Eurasia
  • Urban mobility

From November 22-24, Istanbul played host to the 54th meeting of the UITP Waterborne Committee and Waterborne Transport Workshop. The events brought together experts with the shared goal of shaping the future of maritime electrification and sustainable transportation solutions.  ISTANBUL SEHIR HATLARI, the local maritime service provider, had the privilege of hosting these events, with their General Manager, Sinem DEDETAŞ, now leading the UITP Waterborne committee.

Unlocking the Potential of Waterborne Transport: A Sustainable Urban Solution

Waterborne transport has emerged as a promising element in the realm of urban transport solutions. As cities grapple with the challenges of complex planning, standardization, and evolving business models, collaboration becomes essential. The convergence of expertise at the Waterborne Committee and Workshop in Istanbul highlighted the potential for waterborne transport to be a sustainable, convenient, and economically feasible component of urban mobility.

    The following recommendations emerged from the engaging sessions and discussions:
    • Urban Mobility Integration:  to highlight the integral role of waterborne transport in seamlessly integrating with urban mobility strategies, emphasizing its potential to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance city life.
    • Support for Advancement: to stress the urgent need for increased support, both financial and infrastructural, to propel the development and integration of waterborne transport within urban landscapes.
    • Decarbonization Imperative: to aAcknowledge and endorse the global trend towards decarbonization within the waterborne transport sector, underscoring its positive impact on environmental sustainability and advocating for collaborative efforts in this direction.
    • Addressing Staff Challenges: to recognize the significance of addressing staff challenges, including training and skill development, to ensure a skilled workforce capable of effectively managing and advancing waterborne transport technologies.
    • Smooth Technology Transition: to emphasize the importance of considering staff challenges when implementing technological changes in waterborne transport, ensuring a smooth transition and maximizing the benefits of new technologies.
    • Public Awareness Initiatives: to recommend targeted initiatives to raise public awareness about the advantages of waterborne transport, fostering community engagement to build support and active participation.

      These recommendations encapsulate the collective insights and expertise shared during the workshop sessions. We believe that their implementation will contribute significantly to the growth and sustainability of waterborne transport in urban environments.

      UITP Waterborne Committee’s Ambitious Plans

      Looking ahead, the UITP Waterborne Committee has outlined a series of ambitious initiatives. One of the key focuses is updating the 2016 UITP report titled “Waterborne PT: Evolution, General Overview And Networks.” This comprehensive report will serve as a foundational document, reflecting the advancements and changes in waterborne transport over the past years.

      Additionally, the Committee aims to prepare a Report on Zero Emission Waterborne Transport, emphasizing the electrification of vessels. This initiative aligns with the global push towards sustainable practices and reducing the carbon footprint of transportation.

      A groundbreaking effort on the horizon is the organization of the Global Waterborne Survey 2024. This survey seeks to gather insights from stakeholders worldwide, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the waterborne transport sector.

      Local Host Spotlight: Istanbul Şehir Hatları’s Commitment to Sustainable Maritime Transportation

      As the host of the event, Istanbul Şehir Hatları is a key player in providing safe, comfortable, and sustainable maritime transportation services to the Istanbul community. Their extensive range of activities spans ship management and public transportation, public sea transportation, Bosphorus tours, pier renting, vapur kafe, sea taxi services, and shipbuilding through their HALİÇ SHIPYARD.

      With a fleet comprising 133 vessels, including vapours, double-ended ferries, boats, car-ferries, sea buses, and sea taxis, HALİÇ SHIPYARD is making an impressive 891 trips per day, serving a staggering 40 million passengers annually. Notably, since 2019, 11 new lines have been launched, increasing the total number of lines to 32 and daily trips from 700 to 891. This expansion has led to a remarkable 55% increase in the number of passengers carried in 2022 compared to the previous year.

      The November 2023 gathering in Istanbul served as a crucial milestone in advancing the cause of waterborne transport as a sustainable urban solution. With ambitious plans laid out by the UITP Waterborne Committee and the commitment of local hosts like Istanbul Şehir Hatları, the maritime industry is poised for a transformative journey towards a more sustainable and efficient future.

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