The benefits that the city will have from this development will be many, the transport minister said
The Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Alexis Vafeades, expressed today the assessment that the project of the integrated development of the port and marina of Larnaka will change not only Larnaka but also the whole of Cyprus, adding that the benefits that the city will have from this development will be many.
The Minister was speaking during his first visit to the port of Larnaka where, together with the Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Chatzimanoli, they attended a meeting on the ferry connection between Larnaka and Piraeus that is expected to start in August.
In his statements, Mr. Vafeadis said that the visit to the port is purely informative and he wants to have a private experience, how it is organized and how various activities are done.
Asked to comment on Larnaka’s concerns on whether what has been announced for the port and marina of Larnaka will be met, the Minister said that “the contract with the contractor is being monitored. There is a special committee, a group of professionals monitoring the contract and so far there are no indications that cause us concern,” he said.
To another question, he replied that he would also ask for information on the major projects that were supposed to start on April 1 and noted that “we ask to have a general briefing on all issues in order to know how the project is progressing.”
Asked about the issue that arose with the mooring fees of private boat owners at the Larnaka marina, Mr. Vafeadis replied that “the contract allows the contractor company to regulate the charges for all activities carried out in the port, of course under certain conditions. From a study of all the data submitted by the contractor, we have found that it has fulfilled its obligations to date and therefore has the right, if it so chooses, to proceed with any charge.”
However, he noted from a conversation he had with the Cyprus Ports Authority, he was informed that “there are at least one hundred vacancies in the port of Pafos for mooring private boat owners and they can easily use them. I understand that the fees will probably be cheaper than the cost they had in Larnaka,” he said and noted that “at least this is a relief for private boat owners and I hope they can transfer their boats to the port of Paphos if they cannot afford the increased costs charged by Kition.”
Commenting that Larnaka will lose money to private boat owners, Vafeadis said: “Of course temporarily there will be this reduction. However, in the long run, the benefits that Larnaka will have from the development of the marina and the port will be multiple”, he said and noted that “we estimate that this project will change not only the city of Larnaka but the whole country”.
Paris Demetriou, General Manager of Larnaka Port was asked to comment on Larnaka’s concern that this major investment concerning the unified development of the city’s port and marina will not be made. After mentioning that “all this is not true”, he noted that “the investor is here, he has already hired 100 people who are working and recruitment continues, while the project of renovating the dock has already begun”.
“It is the first project that is being done, but it has some peculiarities, because it is preserved and the maintenance work has to be done under specific specifications. The dock hasn’t been maintained for more than a hundred years and we have to do a job with everyone’s safety and health in mind,” he continued. He also noted that “from the moment the project began, it will have a positive outcome.”
Asked when the major projects will begin, Mr. Demetriou replied that “a project of this magnitude needs time to be done.” “There were some timetables that are being kept and monitored by the Ministry,” he said, adding that “Larnakeas should not be worried.”
In another question, the Director of Larnaka Port said that “the first phase of the project started with the maintenance of the dock. At the end of the year or early next year the yacht club will take place, followed by the renewal of the floating docks and the dredging and enlarging of the marina” and “all this will be done in the next 5-6 years”.
It is noted that the meeting was also attended by representatives of Services involved in the ferry connection, including the Department of Customs, the Department of Aliens and Immigration, the Ministry of Transport, the Port Police, the Police, the Port Authority, Kition Ocean, Scandro Holding Ltd, Orthodox Travel and the Larnaka Port Development Team of the Ministry of Transport.