Cyprus' transport minister says tenders will be issued this week for management of the east Mediterranean island nation's largest port of Limassol.

Marios Demetriades told a news conference Monday that companies may bid to manage the port as a container hub, a cruise liner port of call or to offer other services. The state will retain ownership of the port.

The duration of the management contract may vary between 10 and 30 years. Demetriades said he's confident much interest will be shown because of the island's close proximity to the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest shipping traffic routes.

The port, on the island's southern coast, currently handles about 4,000 ships annually.

Demetriades said the winning bidder is expected to be announced by the first quarter of next year.