President Nikos Christodoulides addressed the Cyprus Shipping Chamber’s annual general meeting, praising the association for its efforts in boosting the local maritime sector, and consequently elevating the country’s profile on the global stage.
“At the outset, I wish to congratulate the chamber for hosting this important annual shipping event, and for its contribution in elevating the profile of Cyprus Shipping for over three decades and for that, I express my gratitude to its member companies,” the president said.
In addition, he praised the chamber for being an ambassador of Cyprus’ shipping sector through its membership and active participation at the International Chamber of Shipping and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations with representatives from its Board of Directors in leading positions. “The joint tireless efforts and the excellent cooperation between the public and private sector throughout the years, are also among the underlying factors for the influential role that Cyprus enjoys in the international shipping industry,” Christodoulides said. “I am convinced that the excellent working relationship between the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Shipping and the Cyprus Shipping Chamber will continue, leading to new achievements and breakthroughs for our shipping industry,” he added.
The president stressed that from the first days of assuming office, his administration “outlined a clear strategy to fulfil the potential and address the challenges of the local shipping industry, and, in doing so, further secure and enhance its excellent performance”. Christodoulides said that the establishment of the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry undoubtedly marked a new era for the sector. He noted that five years later it is clear that this landmark decision has paved the way for further success, particularly with the strong support and contribution of the Shipping Chamber and its members. “I am convinced that a holistic approach, and transforming challenges into opportunities, is the way forward,” the president said. “Rest assured that we will be doing our utmost to support and enhance the efforts and objectives of our shipping industry,” he added.
What is more, the president said that his administration is confident that the steps taken to enhance competitiveness, promote Cyprus’ shipping sector, improve the quality of maritime education and encourage innovation, “will all contribute to our vision of growing our maritime cluster in both size and range of activities”. Looking ahead, the president stated that the government is determined to speed up the process for the implementation of the one-stop-shop shipping centre at the Deputy Ministry of Shipping. “This has been a longstanding request of the shipping industry, which we included in our governance programme as one of our priorities, and the Shipping Deputy Ministry is taking concrete steps in implementing this commitment,” he said.
Christodoulides subsequently outlined a number of actions underway in Cyprus to deliver faster, more flexible and customer-oriented services to the shipping industry. One of the first steps taken was to assign and train officers of the Shipping Deputy Ministry and other relevant government departments and ministries on the special requirements of the shipping industry. These officers will undertake key roles in the new service, which will operate on the premises of the Shipping Deputy Ministry.
Secondly, Cyprus is expediting the process, together with all relevant stakeholders, for the preparation of the required subsidiary legislation to implement the Cyprus “Shipping Limited Liability Company” Law after the unanimous approval of the relevant bill by the House of Representatives in October 2022.
Thirdly, Cyprus is converting the services offered at the Shipping Deputy Ministry into a digital environment, which will be the framework for the operation of the “One-Stop-Shipping-Centre” to offer faster quality services for the growing needs of the shipping industry. In addition, the centre will also operate in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly framework and is set to be delivered by May 2024.
The focus of these measures is sustainable growth and enhancing the competitiveness of Cyprus’ flag and maritime cluster. In recognition of the shipping industry’s efforts towards decarbonisation, Cyprus has already introduced tax incentives supporting the green transformation of the sector and is encouraging shipowners to adopt environmentally sustainable practices in their operations. “I am fully aware that Cyprus Shipping is a fundamental pillar and one of the strongest assets of our country’s economy, with tangible growth potential,” Christodoulides said. “It is a resilient sector that has steadily expanded over the years into a leading maritime centre, with the eleventh largest merchant fleet worldwide, the third largest fleet in the European Union, and Europe’s largest ship management centre,” he added.
The president also expressed the belief that Cyprus’ shipping sector is an asset also for the European Union, and that the EU should increase its support to the industry as a whole. “I wish to assure you that the government is committed to working in close and productive collaboration with the Cyprus Shipping Chamber and all stakeholders involved, in order to safeguard this flagship sector’s sustainable future,” the president said. “In this respect, the government has already committed that it will continue its efforts in coordination with the chamber to maintain intact its advantageous Cyprus Shipping Tonnage Tax System, to address labour affairs issues affecting both Seafarers and land-based personnel in order for the employment benefits offered by the Cyprus Shipping Industry to remain intact,” he added.
The president concluded by saying that he is confident that the Deputy Minister for Shipping will tirelessly work towards the implementation of the strategic goals outlined and will continue supporting the chamber’s efforts to address the challenges and seize the opportunities in the shipping sector.
Source: Cyprus Mail