Bidding is now open for the highly anticipated ferry service that will link Greece with Cyprus possibly as of May 2021, the Cypriot Deputy Ministry of Shipping announced.
Bids for the selection of a maritime carrier contractor to reinstate the coastal shipping connection between the two countries which was terminated in 2000, can be made online through to 29 January 2020 at noon.
The value of the tender comes to 15 million euros for 36 months, with a maximum 5 million euros per year in state support.
Greek Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis welcomed the announcement adding that after months of negotiations, the EU agreed to project subsidies, paving the way for passengers and vehicles to move between the two countries.
The route from Piraeus to Limassol or to Larnaca will run on a weekly basis in the summer (May-September), every fortnight from October to April, and once a month from November to March.
“From the first moment we supported the ferry connection between Greece and Cyprus,” said the minister, welcoming the support announced by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.
“The announcement of the competition marks the beginning of a process that will soon unite Cyprus and Greece by sea,” Plakiotakis added.
The Cyprus-Greece route will be operated by a RoPax vessel transporting at least 200 passengers and vehicles as well as cargo between the ports of Larnaca (or Limassol) and Piraeus. Rhodes and Crete are being considered as possible intermediate stops.
The European Commission approved the project in July, saying the ferry link was considered a general economic interest service under EU rules and could therefore be supported with state funds.
“The maritime passenger link is expected to provide alternative connectivity. Reinstating this ferry link between Cyprus and Greece will be hugely advantageous to the region as a whole, which is why a public subsidy has been granted,” said Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister Vassilios Demetriades.
According to media reports, the fare for the ferry trip between Greece and Cyprus is expected to cost around 50 euros (80 euros roundtrip) and 75 euros for cars.
The journey between the two countries will run for approximately 20 to 30 hours.
Further information on the bidding of the Greece-Cyprus ferry route can be found on the website of the Public Procurement Directorate of the General Accounting Office of the Republic of Cyprus (tender documents no. SDM 13/2020).