Souter-owned Turkish ferry firm shuts routes on economy

A major Istanbul ferry operator part-owned by international transport mogul Brian Souter is cancelling some routes because of a downturn in the economy.

Two routes between the Asian and European sides of the Bosporus will be closed, as well as a service to the Princess Islands, which lie off Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara, Dünya newspaper reported.

Economic activity in Turkey is falling sharply after a currency crisis reduced the lira’s value by a third and inflation surged to more than 25 percent, the highest level in 15 years. Interest rates on loans have jumped as a result, making it more expensive for companies to fund operations.

Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri (IDO) operates vessels including 24 ferry boats and 19 sea buses, according to its website. Souter has run the firm with local partners since 2011, when they purchased it for $861 million from the Istanbul Municipality.

The routes will be cancelled from Dec. 1, Dünya reported.

Scottish investors including Ann Gloag and Sir Angus Grossart also took part in the deal to buy IDO, which carried more than 50 million passengers a year at the time of the purchase.