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M/V Daleela summer ferry to once again link Limassol and Piraeus

The maritime passenger connection between Cyprus and Greece will restart on 29 May, Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis has announced.

She also noted that bookings could be made from 17 April, adding that the public response to the service had surpassed all expectations.

Speaking during a press conference at the Limassol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hadjimanolis said that the Deputy Ministry of Shipping attaches great importance to the reopening of the Cyprus-Greece sea passenger connection, which became a reality two years ago and "has been embraced by the passenger public with enormous success, surpassing every desired expectation.”

During last year's period, she added, 7,407 passengers and 455 pets travelled, while 2,496 accompanied vehicles were transported, numbers which, according to the Deputy Minister, show that "the maritime passenger connection has achieved its purpose, creating a new segment of the tourist market for travelers who wish to travel to and from Cyprus and the rest of continental Europe, with their private cars and two-wheelers, offering an alternative mode of transport".

This year, the Deputy Minister noted, the contracting company Scandro Holding Ltd, decided that the routes will be carried out only from Limassol, with the first trip taking place on 29 May, from the port of Limassol, and the last trip, from Piraeus to Limassol, scheduled for 3 September.

On 17 April, she continued, the online booking and ticketing system will be opened, adding that "the passenger ferry Daleela, which has operated the passenger connection service for the past two years, will remain the same this year, providing improved, quality services to the passenger public."

Hadjimanolis underlined, at the same time, that "the forecasts and data so far regarding the viability of the line, in the long term, are positive" and expressed the wish that there would be interest from the industry in the uninterrupted operation of the service even after the end of the subsidised service, in four years.

"The Deputy Ministry of Shipping will welcome any effort to permanently add a maritime passenger route between Cyprus and Greece or with another neighbouring country", she said and at the same time indicated that this will depend on many factors, such as demand, frequency of routes and the economic viability of carriers. I think, she added, that "with this initiative, we have set the stage for making the line sustainable."

Marina Hadjimanolis indicated that for security reasons citizens cannot place any objects or products inside the vehicles and there is a specific procedure that is followed for their transportation.

On his part, the Mayor of Limassol, Nicos Nicolaides, expressed his joy at the start of the third season of the Cyprus-Greece maritime passenger connection and congratulated the Deputy Ministry of Shipping for its efforts to make this service possible.

He assured that the Municipality of Limassol and all those involved will continue their cooperation for the good of the service and expressed the certainty that there are prospects for its continuation even after the end of the subsidy period.

Thanking the Deputy Ministry of Shipping and the Municipality of Limassol, the Managing Director of Scandro Holding Ltd, Charalambos Manolis, said several problems and bureaucratic procedures had been overcome over time.

Among other things, he also thanked the operator of the Limassol port terminal, DP World Limassol, "who has shown understanding and seeing the signs of the times, have agreed so that we have better fees so that the project can become more sustainable."

The Commercial and Business Development Manager of DP World Limassol, Lazaros Charalambous, assured that the company will work, in cooperation with all the relevant services, "to carry out a smooth process and a pleasant experience for the passenger public".

As mentioned during the press conference, there will be a total of 22 routes, six in May-June, seven in July and nine in August-September, while the fares are about the same as last year, with a small increase of 50 cents on the child ticket and around €2 in port fees.

When asked about the non-inclusion of the port of Larnaca, as was done during last year's period, the CEO of the contractor company explained that "unfortunately, we saw that this was not in the financial interest of the company", since with today's fuel prices, there would have been additional costs of €6,000 to €7,000.”

In relation to the considerations that had been made for a sea connection with Israel as well, Manolis said that, with the developments in the region, this possibility no longer exists, underlining at the same time that the security controls will be stricter this year and requested public understanding. He also noted that, as at other ports, the transportation of electric cars is prohibited.

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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