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Ferry service to Greece one step closer

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The tender competition for ferry connection between Cyprus and Greece is expected to be announced at the beginning of next month, with the aim of launching the routes next summer, deputy minister of shipping, Vasilis Demetriades said on Friday.

Demetriades told the Cyprus News Agency that the open European competition is expected to be announced in the first week of December.

A ceiling has been set for the cost of the fares; €50 for one way and €80 for a return ticket. This does not include the cost of transporting a car.

In the deputy ministry’s budget for 2021, expenditure costs have been included to the tune of €4.2 million, covering the summer months of 2021 until the end of the year.

The EU’s General Directorate for Competition gave the green light for state support for the implementation of the ferry route that will run once a week during the summer months (May to September) and once every two weeks during the winter months (October to April), thus strengthening the connectivity of Cyprus with mainland Europe.

Limassol port will most probably be the port from where the 30-hour ferry trip to Greece will begin, while there were thoughts for an intermediate stop, such as Rhodes.

Demetriades said that his ministry will hold a press conference to present the terms of the tender and the route.

Initial plans were for the ferry to launch last summer but there has been some delay in part as Cyprus sought and obtained the green light from the European Commission to declare the ferry a general economic interest service under EU rules that can be supported by state funds. In early July, the Commission’s DG Competition authorised a maximum of €6m annually in state aid for the planned ferry.

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