Contacts aimed at assessing the situation after the failure of the tender announced by the Ministry of State for the Cyprus-Greece Maritime Connection, are immediately started by the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Vassilis Dimitriadis.
The tender announced by the State Department for the connection, with a state subsidy of up to € 5 million per year, did not attract any bids from maritime operators. It should be noted that the competition provided for the start of regular services this summer amid the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic which is in full swing.
“We will immediately make contacts to map the situation,” the Undersecretary of Shipping told KYPE, stressing that the pandemic factor, which reinforces uncertainty regarding the aspect of commercial activity, must be taken seriously.
It is noted that the state subsidy concerned only the passenger aspect of the route, in accordance with the explicit union rules for the Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI).
Mr. Dimitriadis stated that tomorrow he will have a meeting with the technocrats of the Ministry of State to evaluate the data and make decisions about the next steps. The contacts will make it clear whether the whole project was negatively affected by the pandemic or whether there are other reasons.
“If it becomes clear that the pandemic was the determining factor for not attracting bids then we would have no problem re-announcing the tender at a later stage,” said Mr. Demitriadis, adding that there is determination to achieve the whole project in a sustainable and compatible with EU rules.
Speaking to KYPE, the General Manager of the Cyprus Maritime Chamber, Thomas Kazakos, welcomed the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the promotion of the route, but also the re-examination of the whole issue.
“They made a very good effort. “It seems that the trade conditions, combined with the negative impact of the pandemic on this route, did not seem attractive enough to attract a long-term commitment,” he said.
Mr. Kazakos noted that this dimension should not be given much dimension, as, as he said, “things are still very fluid due to the restrictions that exist in shipping.”