The first Cyprus-Greece passenger ferry line will kick off as early as June from Limassol port 22 years after it was abandoned, Cyprus daily Phileleftheros reported on Tuesday.
The preferred bidder to operate the once very popular ferry line will remain unknown until the following week when Cypriot authorities plan to give out details, it added.
“The tender review process among the three finalist bidders has been completed,” the deputy ministry announced on Monday.
“The preferred bidder is expected to submit final contractual documents within a few days,” it added.
The maritime link will serve the port of Limassol and that of Piraeus for the transportation of passengers and their vehicles.
Three European entities had submitted expressions of interest in the improved tender in January. Last year’s previous tender had failed to attract any interest.
Deputy Shipping Minister of Cyprus Vassilios Demetriades said recently that “reviving the ferry connection will help us to continue building our relationship with the rest of the Mediterranean and we welcome the opportunity to expand the ferry link to a third neighboring country beyond Greece too.”
Three-year contract for the Greece-Cyprus ferry
In November, the ministry launched a fresh attempt for a three-year contract valued at €33 million ($35.6 million) with annual state aid of €5.5 million.
The ferry connection between Greece and Cyprus was stopped 22 years ago, as the increasing use of airplanes by the public made the line obsolete.
However, its planned reintroduction was seen as a way of deepening the already extremely cordial relations between the two countries.
The aid was approved by the EU in July of 2020, stating at the time that it was in the “general economic interest” of the public. Any ferry which eventually plies the waters along the route will fly the EU flag. If it is a foreign-owned vessel, it would have to be registered in the EU, according to EU regulations.
Greece had also reiterated its will to facilitate the reintroduction of the Greece-Cyprus ferry line by offering a dedicated berth in the port of Piraeus for the companies that would have undertaken the route.
The Greek authorities also studied the possibility of adding an intermediate stop between mainland Greece and Cyprus.