The deputy ministry of shipping on Friday announced the online publication of the draft tender document for the establishment of a ferry link with Greece which is available for open consultation after no bidders showed an interest in the original contract.

Interested potential operators can submit suggestions and comments on the main provisions of the draft tender documents by November 12, 2021 at [email protected].

“Such suggestions and comments will be evaluated and taken into account in the final formulation of the tender document,” the deputy ministry said.

The move was part of efforts to assess the possible reasons why contractors did not express any interest when the tender was first launched on December 11, despite 24 potential bidders having asked for the tender documents.

Speaking earlier this year, Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilis Demetriades said he had made contacts with about 15 different carriers and recorded and evaluated the reasons why they did not show interest.

According to the draft document, economic operators will be invited to tender for the provision of a passenger service under public service obligation, which will attract a subsidy, in respect of the Limassol/Larnaca to Piraeus route in accordance with the European Union rules governing a Service of General Economic Interest.

The contract provides for a state subsidy up to €5m per year and an additional subsidy of up to €500,000 per year to accommodate possible adjustments in the marine fuel price, which are not subject for changes.

Under the plan, the maximum fare for a return ticket per person was set at €80 for an airliner seat and €120 per person for a plain single cabin, while for the accompanying vehicles and motorcycles the maximum amounts have been set at €150 and €100 respectively for a return journey. Additional port fees would be charged on these fares.

The ferry route is set to be offered on a weekly basis between April and May to September and October only, amounting to 26 return sailings per year. An intermediate stop at a third country is also possible.

The service will be provided for three years with a possibility for an extension of the contract subject to performance indicators for an additional maximum period up to three years.

The maritime connection between Cyprus and Greece has been inactive since 2000.