It was held on 17th December the December Smart Talk with H.E. Vassilios Demetriades, Shipping Deputy Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, focusing on the opportunities offered by the New Tender for the Subsidised Ferry Link between Cyprus and Greece, that expires on 28th January 2022.
After the introductory greetings by the President of the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Giuseppe Marino, the discussion was moderated by Federico Franchina, Maritime Lawyer and Vice President of the Chamber.
H.E. Demetriades highlighted, within the framework of this ambitious project, strongly supported by Cyprus and EU, how the first tender published at the end of 2020 received a lot of interest among the stakeholders, and that the new one – after long discussions and an open consultation with potential operators – has been improved to be more attractive and to meet the stakeholders’ requests.
The new tender, launched on 25th November, aims to start the ferry service in Spring-Summer 2022. Minister Demetriades recalled the main tender’s improvements mentioning the raising of amount of subsidy, also considering the growing price of fuel, the selected ports (Pireus main terminal in Greece and Larnaca or Limassol in Cyprus), not considering intermediate ports in Greek islands to avoid delays, the EU/EEA flag criterion, the more flexible requirement of minimum capacity, the option for the operators to run the service with more than one vessel, and to submit certificates and other vessel’s information in a later stage. Also, a significant amendment concerns the cash flow of the subsidy that will be done on a monthly basis, instead of every three months. Besides, the operator that manages to attract in average more than 60 passengers, will get 3 extra years of subsidy.
With this improvements, the Ministry will try to ensure low fares, enhance ferry tourism and allow operators to receive the maximum subsidy. Besides, the 30 hours’ trip can allow the company to charge passengers for extra services and entertainments on board, such as restaurants, casinos, clubs that can also bring a further income. For what concerns cargo, this is not allowed to be funded, but the new tender has a very flexible approach allowing the operator to use the ship also with this purpose.
Finally, Minister Demetriades recalled the December’s joint statement of Cyprus and Israel to extend the trip, which will not be funded by EU, but that represents a great potential to extend this type of tourism in the East-Med Area, enhancing cooperation in the maritime sector, and opening up for new business opportunities. The Ministry, in synergy with the Ministry of Tourism, is also thinking on organizing international events on board to attract institutions, Chambers of Commerce, Shipping Chambers and companies to create G2G or G2B occasions, regarding for example green transition and digitalization of shipping.
The conclusions where left to President Marino who remarked the relevance of this connection in the Mediterranean framework thanking again the Deputy Minister Demetriades for the excellent contribution that he gave through the Smart Talk to Chamber’s members and operators, also confirming that the subject will be further deepened within the Chamber’s Shipping Committee.
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Last modified: December 22, 2021