APM, DP World keen on Li­mas­sol port

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Two ma­jor sea ter­mi­nal op­er­a­tors are keen to de­velop the com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions of Li­mas­sol port, the big­gest in Cyprus and part of the gov­ern­ment’s pri­vati­sa­tion plan that needs to raise about EUR 1.4 bln in four years.

Nether­lands-based APM Ter­mi­nals and Dubai’s DP World are said to have shown in­ter­est, with the gov­ern­ment aban­don­ing ear­lier plans for pri­vati­sa­tions, and now opt­ing be­tween a li­cens­ing agree­ment and con­ces­sion.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Works Min­is­ter Mar­ios Deme­tri­ades, who han­dles the port­fo­lios of both trans­port and mar­itime, said that the pro­ce­dure for pri­vati­sa­tion of the com­mer­cial ser­vices at Li­mas­sol Port will get un­der­way by the end of April.

He told the Cyprus News Agency that there will also be a re­view of the port rates to match world prices, adding that all labour rights will be re­spected.

Al­ready, con­sul­tants Roth­schild have em­barked on a mar­ket sound­ing process in a bid to as­sess mar­ket in­ter­est. Deme­tri­ades said that prom­i­nent cor­po­ra­tions in port and cargo ter­mi­nals man­age­ment have ex­pressed in­ter­est for the ser­vices at Li­mas­sol port.

He added that this process also aims to clar­ify which port ac­tiv­i­ties would be pri­va­tised, not­ing that there is a pos­si­bil­ity for the process to in­clude more than one in­vestor.

“This has to do with our ef­fort to max­imise the benefits for the Repub­lic and to in­crease the num­ber of pos­si­ble in­vestors,” he said.

“I be­lieve the in­vestor will be se­lected by the end of the year and the process will be com­pleted by the first quar­ter of 2016,” Deme­tri­ades said.

He said the Min­istry’s ad­vi­sors are cur­rently ex­am­in­ing the legal frame­work for pri­vati­sa­tion, not­ing that the op­tions un­der con­sid­er­a­tion are ei­ther a li­cense con­tract or a con­ces­sion agree­ment for a pe­riod of 25 years.

Deme­tri­ades said that Min­istry of­fi­cials and their ad­vi­sors have al­ready briefed the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s Di­rec­torates for Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets on the process, which will main­tain the Cyprus Port Author­ity as a public or­gan­i­sa­tion with a su­per­vis­ing role.

Fur­ther­more, the ex­pan­sion of Li­mas­sol port is un­der way by in­cor­po­rat­ing the ad­ja­cent Merra, an area un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Bri­tish Sovereign Base.

Deme­tri­ades also said that the Min­istry will re­vise the charges pol­icy be­fore the pri­vati­sa­tion process is com­pleted.

“We would like to re­vise the charges phi­los­o­phy to com­ply with com­pet­i­tive ports be­cause the cur­rent charg­ing pol­icy is anachro­nis­tic,” he said.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to CPA fig­ures, 2014 saw a rise in com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity in Li­mas­sol port, as a to­tal of 307,600 con­tain­ers (TEUs) were trans­ported mark­ing an 11% an­nual in­crease, de­spite sev­eral strikes by port work­ers. In 2013, the vol­ume had seen a 9.8% de­crease from 2012.

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