The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry announced on Wednesday that Cyprus is seeking bidders to revive its ferry line to Greece.
The ferry line was discontinued over two decades ago, and multiple campaigns to relaunch the ferry have come and gone with no success.
The Cypriot government plans to offer a subsidy of 5.5 million euros ($6.25 million) in a contract that will last 3 years with the potential for an extension.
The ferry takes roughly 16 hours between Cyprus and Greece, costing 50 euros ($57) one way and 80 euros ($91) for a round-trip ticket. This price stage is double the cost of the cheapest flight from Cyprus to Greece, which is 20 euros ($23) and takes only an hour and 40 minutes.
If the bidding application process is a success, the ferry will be open on a weekly basis in the months of April, May, September, and October.
Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilios 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.”
On the curious omission of the Summer season from the ferry’s proposed schedule, Demetriades said that there was the potential for it to be added to the line’s itinerary:
“We also recognize that there will be higher demand during the summer season and, therefore, will consider a seasonal ferry connection to encourage a broader range of applicants for this tender,” he said.
The deadline for interested parties to make their tender submissions is 12 PM on January 28, 2022.
Seasonal-only Cyprus route may finally bring the ferry line back
The European Union had approved a new bidding process for a seasonal rather than year-round ferry in May 2021.
Demetriades told the press at the time that meetings held with officials from shipping companies revealed that having to establish a year-round ferry connection — instead of a seasonal one — was one of the main issues deterring companies from submitting bids.
The firm DG Competition approved the change in the bid, following consultation with Cyprus’ Deputy Ministry, according to Demetriades.
“The change in the connection’s nature to a seasonal one may provide us with more options, as it gives companies the option to utilise their ship for other lines during the winter period, while our fellow citizens will enjoy the service in the summer when there is demand,” Demetriades explained.
Demetriades was cautious, however, when asked about the success of the eventual effort and whether or not an entity will step up to take on the seasonal ferry service.
“A step has been taken without guaranteeing any success in the new tender,” he remarked to reporters.