Bailed out Cyprus said on Monday it was seeking investors to manage and develop its largest port of Limassol as part of reforms under its obligations to international lenders.
A 25-year contract is available for upgrading the state-owned south coast port's container facilities and managing a multi-purpose terminal, while a 10-year contract is on offer for maritime services.
"Commercialising Limassol port is of strategic importance to Cyprus as it gives us another development option and it's a project that cannot be delayed for even one day," Communications Minister Marios Demetriades told a news conference.
He said the aim was for contracts to be signed during the first three months of 2016, and added that the port would remain state-owned.
Demetriades said other regional ports such as in Egypt, Greece, Israel, Lebanon and Malta benefited from private investment, and Cyprus needed to do the same to secure "its piece of the pie".
He said the country is behind in making good use of its location, with Malta moving three million containers annually compared with Limassol's 300,000.
As part of the conditions for a 10-billion-euro ($13-billion) bailout agreed in March 2013 with international lenders, Cyprus has undertaken a privatisations plan covering telecoms, electricity and the ports.