Cyprus: Deputy Shipping Ministry aims for Cyprus-Piraeus ferry link by 2020
The Deputy Shipping Ministry aims to commence a ferry link connecting Cyprus with Piraeus by 2020, Phileleftheros reported.
According to Deputy Shipping Minister Natasa Pilidou the link will take place once a week between May-September and once every two weeks during the rest of the year.
The Ministry will soon submits an application for funding to the European Commission (EC) in order to finance the route.
It aims to complete all required procedures by the summer of 2020, depending on when the EC will respond to the application and interest by investors.
“If we we receive a response by the European Commission by autumn, we will be able to launch a call for bids after Christmas,” Pilidou told the House Trade Committee on Tuesday.
She added that there is increased interest by investors and that the ferry link will be partly financed by the state.
A cabinet-commissioned feasibility study on the ferry link has already been completed.
There have long been calls for the restoration of a ferry link between the two countries that ceased in 2000.
Previous efforts have stumbled on the problem of money, with feasibility studies indicating that such a link would not be financially viable.
But there have been renewed calls on the government to seek to find a solution, most recently by Disy, while an online petition to both the Cyprus and Greek governments has collected thousands of signatures.
In their petition addressed to the mayors of Limassol and Piraeus and the port offices of the two countries, the citizens said that airline tickets were often expensive, adding that there should be at least one ferry link between Cyprus and Greece, as a first step. This would bring medium and long term benefits to both countries, they said, boosting tourism, creating jobs and generating competition with airlines, thereby leading to cheaper fares.