NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s Ports Authority has clinched a deal with Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to develop a transit hub on the island, bringing in badly needed revenue, a senior shipping official said yesterday. The CPA, which is government-controlled and administers the ports of Limassol and Larnaca, has entered a memorandum of understanding with MSC to handle up to 400,000 cargo containers in transit each year. «It is a huge project and a key target of the CPA. Transit trade is the future of shipping,» CPA chairman Chryssis Prenzas told Reuters. The venture was worth an additional annual revenue of up to 3 million Cypriot pounds ($6.38 million) directly for the CPA, Prenzas said. Transit trade had dropped off in Cyprus in recent years with the departure of shipping companies from Limassol whittling the trade down to «almost nil,» Prenzas said. «In the transitional period until full implementation of the deal we will be handling 1,500-2,000 containers.» Port authorities are to start dredging work in Limassol terminal next month to increase its depth to 15 meters and boost its capability for serving larger ships, Prenzas said. The work is due to be completed within three months.