No serious problems have arisen so far at the port of Limassol due to the war on the Israeli-Gaza front, Limassol port manager Panagiotis Agathocleous told ‘’Entrepreneurial Limassol’’. "On the contrary," added Mr. Agathocleous, "the port of Limassol was called upon to serve increased flows of cruise ships, since large cruise ships are currently sailing in the eastern Mediterranean due to weather conditions and had included the port of Haifa in their itineraries, but since the beginning of the conflict in Israel several of them have canceled their trip there and chose to visit the port of Limassol on a more frequent basis.'
Mr. Agathocleous indicated that this had a significant, positive impact on the economy of the country, since thousands of visitors visited various places in Cyprus, especially in Limassol, which benefited, in addition to the port industry, the local community. The director of the port of Limassol added that there was also, to some extent, increased throughput of cargo destined for Israel.
As he explained, shipping lines chose to unload these cargoes in Limassol temporarily, (in transit) until there is the possibility of transporting them to Israel, which is their destination. He added that at this stage there have been no difficulties in servicing the ships that regularly come to Cyprus and carry both Cypriot and foreign cargo. Panagiotis Agathocleous confirmed that there is a large mobilization of state agencies involved, so that if and when needed, the ports of Limassol and Larnaca will be used by other countries in case there will be a need to evacuate their citizens from Israel or Lebanon. "The "Estia" plan is being implemented, with which Cyprus is able to host this humanitarian need, so that the various countries can seamlessly evacuate their citizens from the two countries, utilizing Cyprus as a transit station, for the purpose of repatriating citizens, either by air or by sea," he added.
Mr. Agathocleous said that so far there have not been increased arrivals of warships, other than those already scheduled. He added, however, that if this situation continues, some ships sailing in the eastern Mediterranean may need to enter Cyprus ports for refueling and servicing purposes, to be able to continue their missions. "Entrepreneurial Limassol" has learned that at DP World Limassol terminal there have been some cancellations from cruise ships, but as we were told, schedules change daily due to the fluid situation. Data are evaluated daily, and it is too early to assess the impact.
There have been occasions when the port of Limassol was flooded with people, such as on October 24 when two large cruise ships, Mein Schiff 5 and Odyssey of the Seas, arrived at the DP terminal, carrying 7,000 passengers. Eurogate told us that as far as container loads are concerned, no differentiation has been observed for the time being, with Israeli ports operating normally at the time of writing.