The long-running efforts to upgrade the Cypriot port and marina at Larnaca appear to be making progress at last. In response to an invitation for expressions of interest made by the Cyprus government last November, five consortia have responded.

No details of the five bidders are available but IBI understands that a number of international parties are sharing in the five potential bids. An official press release indicated that that each of the bids will now be assessed on financial and technical grounds by a panel made up of project experts and representatives of the Ministry of Transport.

This evaluation process should be completed by the end of this month or early May. Following that the successful bidder will be invited to make a full tender and conclude a concession agreement. In the autumn work of the funding of the development and the completion of a contract between the various parties involved in the tendering process will begin.

The project has a history going back over two decades with a mix of bureaucracy and legal disputes having caused delay after delay. Zenon Consortium had previously entered a bid in 2008 but was unable to find sufficient finance to proceed.

As part of the latest moves to complete the project the Cyprus government launched a new plan for the port and marina. It is suggested that the marina could be the largest in Cyprus including berths for smaller yachts but also for superyachts up to 100m(328ft) or more. As part of the marina project, it is envisaged that upland development could include a hotel, a large number of apartments, luxury villas, shopping and F&B outlets and offices.

Larnaca is one of three new marina projects currently in various stages of development. A new 600 berth marina is now under construction at Ayia Napa for completion in 2019. It is a €250m project and includes a resort and significant upland development. A project at Paphos has been under way but has been delayed by various disputes.