Despite an initial interest shown by several companies in reviving a ferry link connecting Cyprus and Greece,not a single offer was submitted in the tender launched by the Cypriot government on December 2020, the country’s Shipping Deputy Ministry announced Friday.
The tender process closed on January 29.
“The lack of submission of bids at the end of the deadline may be due to the uncertain economic conditions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which undoubtedly affects the shipping sector, especially the passenger and car ferry sectors,” the ministry said in a press release.
The whole project will be “re-evaluated” when the conditions allow and after contacts with the shipping industry, it added.
The ministry launched an open tender on December 11 to reinstate the Cyprus-Greece ferry link after a 20-year absence.
The service was scheduled to start as of May or June 2021.
According to the tender, the service, connecting either Limassol or Larnaca in Cyprus with Piraeus in Greece, will be subsided with up to 5 million euros in national funds per year in a 36-month contract. The ferry will have a minimum capacity of 200 passengers.
The European Union approved the state subsidy on July 3 arguing that it can be considered a general economic interest service under EU rules.
The plan states that the service will be weekly, dropping to fortnightly in October and April and monthly during the winter months from November to March.
The ferry will have to carry an EU flag or if foreign-owned, must be EU-registered.