The Larnaca port and marina project will change all of Cyprus, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades said on Friday, visiting the site from which a ferry link with Piraeus, Greece will launch in August.

The minister was speaking during his first visit to the Larnaca port, where together with the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Marina Hadjimanoli, they attended a meeting on the Larnaca – Piraeus ferry link, which is expected to start in August.

In his statements, Vafeades said that the visit to the port was purely informative, and he wanted to have a personal experience on how it is organised and how the various activities are carried out.

Asked to comment on the concerns of Larnaca residents over the company, Kition Ocean Holdings, sticking to their word, Vafeades said that what was stipulated in the contract is being monitored.

“There is a special committee, a team of professionals that monitor the contract, and until now there have not been any signs raised that concern us,” he said.

Asked about the issue that arose with the berthing fees of private boat owners at the Larnaca marina, Vafeades replied that the contract allows the company to regulate the fees for all the activities that take place in the port, under certain conditions.

“From a study of all the data submitted by the contractor, we have established that the company has fulfilled its obligations to date and therefore has the right, if it chooses, to proceed with any charge,” he said.

However, he noted from a conversation he had with the Cyprus Ports Authority, he was informed that there are at least a hundred empty berths in the port of Paphos for private boat owners to use.

“I understand that the fees are very likely to be cheaper than the costs they have in Larnaca, and at least this is a relief for private boat owners, and I hope they will be able to transfer their boats to the port of Paphos, if not they can afford the increased costs that Kition charges,” he said.

Commenting on a journalist remark that Larnaca will lose money if ship owners go to berth at another port, Vafeades said it is expected that there will be a decrease.

However, he added that in the long-term the benefits from the developments of the marina in Larnaca will be exponentially increased.

Paris Demetriou, General Manager of the port, was asked to comment on the concern of Larnaca residents that this large investment regarding the unified development of the city’s port and marina will not be made.

After stating that this was not true he noted that the investing company was here, and they had already hired 100 people who are working and hiring continues, while the work of renovating the dock has already started.

“It is the first project to be done, but it has certain peculiarities because it is historic, and the maintenance work has to be done under certain specifications. The dock had not had works done on it for over a hundred years and we have to do a job, with everyone’s safety and health in mind,” he said.

He also said since the project started, it will also have a positive outcome.