Istanbul, Turkey 13th September,2021
In a bid to promote regional connectivity, and in line with the Government of Sierra Leone Medium Term National Development Plan, the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation has on Monday 13th September 2021 signed a contract with Negmar, a Turkish Maritime Transportation and Logistics Company at the company’s headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey. The contract is for the provision of ferry services between Lungi and Freetown. The ferry service will be privately owned, privately financed, and privately operated by the Negmar Corporation.
The contract entails among others the following:
• The provision of four ferries; two for passengers-only and two for vehicles and passengers. This number will be increased based on demand
• The provision of a ferry service that will be based on regular, time-bound and fixed schedules
• In collaboration with the Sierra Leone Ports Authority and the Sierra Leone Maritime administration, the training of Sierra Leonean maritime staff.
• The Creation of employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans, having 95% of their staff being locals.
• The development to modern standards, the ferry terminals at Government Wharf, Kissy, and Tagrin.
On signing the agreement, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Mr. Kabineh Kallon said that the ferry service, which will mirror the company’s own operations in Istanbul, Turkey, will introduce “reliability, comfort, and dignity” in public transportation across the Sierra Leone River that divides Freetown from the Northwest region.
He maintained that all these will be achieved at an affordable price for all Sierra Leoneans.
The Senior Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, Mr. Munda Sowa expressed his elation to see that international travelers will not have to wait an additional two hours to get across to or from the airport, relieving them of an enormous travel stress.
The Director of Transport, Mr. Hindolo Shiaka noted that cost sensitive travelers often resort to less safe means of getting across the river when ferry services are unavailable. Negmar, he said, will be ensuring safer travel at reasonable costs for all Sierra Leoneans.
The Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Dr. Adams Steven said that the negotiations were done with the “farmers, the traders, the Fishermen, and the regular people of the Northwest region in mind”. They are the greatest beneficiaries of a “regularly scheduled, dignified and affordable transport system “that will enable them to transfer their yields to the markets” in Freetown, he said.
He maintained that the current cost both in terms of time and money is impediment to growth for Sierra Leoneans in and around Lungi.
On their part, the Chairman of Negmar, Mehmet Koc, said that the agreement is an opportunity to greatly improve transportation across the Sierra Leone River via the Freetown-Lungi route, to unlock economic activities between the the western area and the Northwest region of the country.
“This opportunity will increase access for goods and services, enhance connectivity within the country and between the two regions. It will prepare the great country of Sierra Leone for Africa’s single market initiative. With efficient ferry services Sierra Leone is closer to being the trade hub for the region. As a result, the GDP will grow, and more employments will be created.” Chairman Mehmet Koc maintained.
A Technical Team from Negmar will be in Freetown in the next couple of weeks for a detailed study of the ferry terminals. Negmar hopes to commence partial operations within six months.
Ministry of Transport and Aviation