Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades opened Maritime Cyprus 2015 last night saying, “Our economy will return to one of growth and shipping will play a leading role.”
The industry currently contributes 7% to the island’s GDP, and with the launch of a new maritime strategy, Anastasiades believes maritime will “contribute significantly”, saying that he is devoted to “safeguarding the sector”.
“The government is committed to sustainable growth and to tackle the challenges,” he said.
Transport, communications, and works minister Marios Demetriades told delegates that the role of shipping is invaluable to the country. “Cyprus is a good place to do business and the shipping industry is a vital catalyst for economic growth.”
Demetriades said that the impact of the financial crisis on Cyprus’ shipping industry is ‘manageable’.
“Our overall shipping infrastructure remains intact. The wealth of knowledge and expertise in our industry will navigate the industry to calm waters.
“This [expertise] even more enables us to identify and exploit effectively and efficiently new emerging opportunities that arise.”
The industry employs 4,500 people on the island and Cyprus-based shipmanagement companies manage about 20% of the world’s third-party fleet.
Unlike other open registries, Cyprus – as the world’s 10th largest registry – also remains a major base for international shipping operations and ship management.
Demetriades said that the current privatisation of Limassol port will help the regrowth of the maritime cluster and that Cyprus is already seeing increased interest in the East Mediterranean offshore market.
The new government maritime strategy promises to engage the private sector in an effort to further boost the industry “favourably and competitively”, he said.
“Now, more than ever before, Cyprus needs a flexible, modern, and even more efficient maritime administration to deal with the rapid changes in shipping,” Demetriades said. “We need to become more aggressive in the way we pursue business and upgrade our maritime administration. This is one of our main goals and we have already started working towards that.”
The new plan focuses on five core areas: the development and implementation of a national shipping promotion strategy; greater co-operation within the Cyprus maritime cluster; the establishment of shipping incentive schemes; fine-tuning of the ship registry pricing policy; and the development of the one-stop-shipping shop.
“Our recently completed study proposes a number of measures that ensure more flexibility, fast and efficient service, upgrading of the online services provided, reliability, and high quality services.”
Demetriades added that there needs to be change and greater political acknowledgement of shipping. “It’s not a priority on all political agendas, despite shipping carrying 90% of world goods.”
Maritime Cyprus 2015 runs in Limassol from 14 to 16 September.