MARITIME – A new strategy in 3 months’ time
“The first thing I want to say is, regarding the new way of thinking of our shipping industry, it is time to act!
“As soon as I took over the Ministry, it was very easy to realise that the shipping sector had been stagnant, and not only because of internal reasons. If somebody is realistic and knows shipping how it works, realises that this is like a fallacy. The shipping sector in Cyprus has been stagnant for a number of reasons, because of the (Turkish) embargo, our competitors, especially in the registration of ships are growing at much faster paces than us. Now, does that mean that we shouldn’t do anything about it? Of course not. I’ve said this before, ‘ now is the time to act!’ “Before you act, you have to do some planning, and we have to have the right way of thinking, a strategy. What I have been doing for the last 12 months, apart from taking a much more active role in the sector of shipping, I have spent a lot of time to visit companies at least once every three months. I’ve been on a number of trips abroad, either to London or Athens and a number of other countries to promote the Cypriot candidacy for the IMO of our Acting Director of the Department (of Merchant Shipping).
“What is the solution for taking the sector forward? I am presenting to the Council of Ministers the new plan, at least the principles that we should base our solution on. So, we are introducing a number of short-term measures and some medium-term measures. The solution for the restructuring of the Department is to give it the the necessary flexibility to do it’s work well. Because the DMS has been operating very efficiently for the last years but it hasn’t changed, it has not evolved. And of course this goes for whole government. We’ve had our government since 1960 and we haven’t introduced any major changes. Now, we have the opportunity to introduce major changes. We are changing the name of the Ministry to reflect the sectors that it represents. And it will put more emphasis on transport, because most of the things the Ministry does have to do with transport.
“I am convinced that the way forward for the Department (of Merchant Shipping) is to evolve, to become more independent, more flexible. And on the other hand I do believe that we need to do some internal restructuring and place more emphasis on the business development part. So, at the moment we are doing three things – regulatory, operational-technical, and business development – and we need to put more emphasis on the latter. But in order to