Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Qatar expresses interest in troubled Larnaca port

Larnaca Port Larnaca-port.jpg
Preparations are underway to re-tender Larnaca port after Cyprus terminated the $1.3bn concession for its development.

Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades told local media that the Qataris had expressed an interest in the port, along with general interest from other investors. The government’s intention is to re-tender the project, a process which may be delayed by any legal proceedings from the .

The most recent operator of Larnaca port, Kition Ocean Holdings, held a long-term concession for the operation and development of Larnaca port and marina. Trouble has been brewing at the port for some time, with little progress made in a development project which should have been closing in on completion by 2025.

Kition Ocean Holdings is a joint venture between Israeli investor Eldeman Holdings BV and Cypriot firm Alexandrou Corporate Services Ltd.

Cyprus scrapped the concession this week with the government blaming Kition for failing to renew a letter of guarantee. Kition said it was examining its legal options, accusing the government of undermining the rule of law. The government claimed four warning letters were sent over the matter, and the guarantee was not received despite the company’s repeated assurances.

The state will now operate the port and has already rehired 70 Kition workers at the site after meetings with trade unions earlier this week. The President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides said that the expansion project would continue without delay while they would also be looking for a capable company to handle the development and operations.

Kition was awarded the concession in 2020 and was granted multiple deadline extensions due to the pandemic. The state and Kition reached an agreement in mid-April to lower the guarantee amount sought by the state from €10m to €4.2m. Construction was due to recommence on receipt of the guarantee. 

The development plan called for the second largest port in Cyprus to be expanded with 10 piers, a state-of-the-art passenger building, and new environmentally friendly equipment. The existing infrastructure of the port was to be upgraded including the piers, internal road network, and storage areas.

Larnaca is a multi-use port that occupies an area of approximately 44.5 ha on the southern coast. It serves cargoes including bulk, timber, iron, fertilisers, cars, pipes, and petroleum. 

The development of Larnaca has a troubled history; a project agreed in 2010 with Zenon Consortium eventually fell through in 2015 after failing to raise funds despite multiple deadline extensions.