By Stelios Orphanides
Cypriot authorities expect that successful bidders will confirm the bids they submitted in the competition for the privatisation of Limassol port’s commercial operations “within hours,” the chairman of the Cyprus Ports Authority said.
The cabinet and parliament will have to ratify the final deal before the government signs the contracts with the three successful bidders, Alekos Michaelides said in an interview to state radio CyBC on Tuesday.
Michaelides said that he doesn’t expect that parliament will block the ratification. “Why should we have a problem?” he said. “The procedure has been successfully completed and when we’ll go to parliament everyone will acknowledge it was transparent and therefore there will be no problems”.
On Monday, opposition parties reiterated their disagreement with government plans to privatise the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority. They said they will reject legislation creating CyTA Ltd, a private company that will take over the staff and operations before a strategic investor buys a controlling stake in it.
Michaelides, who is also the transport ministry’s permanent secretary, said that a transition period will follow the signing of the contracts, allowing operators of the port’s container station, general cargo station, and maritime services to get organised, establish offices, and hire staff. During this period, the Cyprus Ports Authority will continue to manage the port.
He added that the successful bidders are “huge companies” experienced in port management, which can bring growth to Cyprus’s economy.
“Port infrastructure is there and no additional infrastructure is needed,” the new port operators may have to invest in equipment such as container cranes, Michaelides said.