ΝΙCOSIA – There were multiple bidders for a license to bring back a ferry service from Cyprus to Greece as the deadline expired, bringing hope that it could be in service again, but not running in the summer.
Cyprus’ Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilis Demetriades didn’t say how many had made an offer but that there was more than one, showing there’s interest in trying to convince people to take a long boat ride instead of a short flight.
“We are not celebrating, but we consider this as an important step before the last one, which is the evaluation and the award of the tender. The great and painstaking effort we have made as a deputy ministry team has paid off, as we managed to attract the interest of economic operators for a tender whose peculiarities made the project very difficult,” he added, said Kathimerini.
He said bidders were interested because of renegotiation of the terms with the European Commission and the redrafting of the tender document, the offers going before a committee to make an award as soon as possible.
In November, 2021 it was reported that the government would include a subsidy of 5.5 million euros ($6.25 million) for a three-year contract and consider an extension for another three years, said the site Shipping News.
That’s in line with what the European Union allows to reinstate the line that was losing money when it ended with hopes enough people will prefer to travel by ferry than take the short hop flight of one hour and 40 minutes.
The ferry would take some 16 hours and cost 50 euros ($56) one way or 80 euros ($89 round trip) and be more expensive than the cheapest flight available at as low as $11-$18 linking the countries.
The service will be offered on a weekly basis between April-May to September-October only as a seasonal service and have 22 return sailings annually on a limited service during peak periods. It wasn’t said why the summer wasn’t included.
At the time, Demetriades said 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.