NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus will issue tenders this week for a new operator to manage the east Mediterranean island nation's largest port of Limassol in hopes of making it a regional player, the transport minister said Monday.
Marios Demetriades said interested companies could bid to manage the port as a container hub, a cruise liner port of call or to offer sea services. The state will retain ownership of the port.
The duration of the management contracts will vary — some 10-15 years for sea services and 25-30 years for the container business.
Demetriades said he's confident interest will be shown because of the island's close proximity to the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest shipping traffic routes.
He said other ports in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas are investing heavily to increase their share of shipping business revenues.
Limassol port, on the island's southern coast, currently handles 4,000 ships — both container ships and cruise liners. But authorities are looking for new management to invest and expand its services, boosting its competitiveness.
"We don't plan to miss out on the reapportioning of this pie," Demetriades told a news conference. "We'll not only be participants, but leaders."
Demetriades said the winning bidder is expected to be announced by the first quarter of next year.