Link investor

Nicosia hints at a ferry connection this summer, KNEWS

The Republic of Cyprus’ deputy shipping minister says a successful bidder for a state-subsidized ferry link to Greece has been invited to submit a proposal, with reports indicating a summer link could be launched this year.

Deputy shipping minister Vasilis Demetriades has said a Cyprus-Greece ferry route could be launched as early as last week in June, saying a combination of factors made the latest public tender more attractive for investors.

Nicosia has been trying for years to revive a ferry link between the island’s south coast and mainland Greece, but potential investors have argued that financial risks and year-round service conditions in the calls previous public offerings made it impossible to move forward without more assurance from the state. .

Last year, the Cypriot government went back to the drawing board after no bidders came forward. Previously, shipping companies had shown interest but were unconvinced by the state’s plan to pour up to €5m of national funds a year on a 36-month contract for a ferry that would carry at least 200 low-cost passengers.

Demetriades also said an increase in state subsidies to €5.5 million was also another factor, as the bidder may now be in a better position to cover fuel costs.

Demetriades, who spoke on public radio on Tuesday morning, said a better bidder had been selected after more attractive terms were offered, but declined to identify the company until a proposal was made. finalized and signings completed later this month.

The minister said previous failed attempts were due to investors not wanting to hire vessels to Cyprus all year round, adding that a seasonality term introduced this time meant vessels would only sail between May and september.

Demetriades also said an increase in state subsidies to €5.5m was also another factor, as the bidder might now be “in a better position to cover fuel costs”.

A previous ferry link between Greece and Cyprus was disrupted in 2000. Experts and some officials had previously expressed concern over the ferry link, suggesting it might not be commercially viable.

But Demetriades remained hopeful and said more details would be announced soon, including prices and the itinerary. According to the Minister, the conditions of the public call for tenders provided for maximum prices set at €50 one way and €80 return.

“We actually expect these fares to be much lower than the top price,” Demetriades said.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have pushed for the ferry link, saying sea travel to Greece is popular among Cypriots, especially those who cannot or are afraid to fly.

The ferry is expected to run from Limassol to Piraeus, although the successful bidder still has time to choose whether to go with Larnaca, as the contract would allow only one of the two Cypriot port cities.