Cyprus will invite expressions of interest by the end of this week for the commercial development of Limassol port, the island’s main port on the southern coast, the transport ministry said on Monday.
Authorities said three long-term contracts would be available for commercial operation of container facilities, a multipurpose terminal which includes passenger facilities, and sea services.
The transport ministry said it expected to complete the process by the end of the first quarter in 2016. Rothschilds was advising the Republic on the process, the ministry said.
“Our aim is to bring in experienced port operators who can develop, not just maintain, business at the port,” Transport Minister Marios Demetriades said.
Strategically placed, the east Mediterranean island is in prime position to attract trans-shipment business.
“This is a project of strategic importance to Cyprus, which will add value and growth prospects to the economy,” Demetriades said.
Sale of state assets is a requirement under a 10 billion- euro bailout program with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, though the ports process steers away from an outright privatization. The operator will work under the supervision of the Cyprus Ports Authority, which is the present administrator of the port.
Limassol port is Cyprus’s main commercial port, absorbing about 80 percent of passenger traffic, and servicing around 70 percent of ships passing through Cyprus.