Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) has launched a tender process to re-establish a marine passenger link between Greece and Cyprus.

The new ferry link will be subsidised by national funds since passenger maritime transport services between Cyprus and Greece constitute a Service of General Economic Interest (SGEI).

For the 36-month contract, the project will be subsidised to the value of up to €5m a year.

The ferry connection previously operated until the year 2000.

Following approval by the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission in June, the tender was launched by the Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus.

Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister Vassilios Demetriades said: “Cyprus as an island State, should not be dependant solely on air transport in its connection with Continental Europe. 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.”

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By GlobalData

Tenderers must provide a total of 31 return sailings each year while operating between a port of Cyprus, either Limassol or Larnaca, and the port of Piraeus in Greece.

One return sailing a week should be offered between May and September, while one return sailing every two weeks from October to April, and one return sailing a month between November and March.

The Ro-Pax ship must conform to various requirements, including the flying of an EU/EEA flag and a minimum capacity of 200 passengers.

The deadline for tender submissions is on 29 January 2021.