Shipping can contribute more
Despite its already large contribution of about 7% to the island’s GDP, shipping can contribute more and play a leading role in the recovery of the economy, says Transport, Communications and Works Minister Marios Demetriades.
Over the last years, the shipping sector witnessed a significant development and now constitutes one of the main pillars of the economy employing around 4,500 people onshore, the Minister said ahead of next week’s Maritime Cyprus conference. And unlike other open registries, Cyprus is also a major base for international shipping operations and shipping related activities, while Cyprus-based ship management companies manage about 20% of the world’s third party managed fleet.
“Now, more than ever before, Cyprus needs a flexible, modern and even more efficient maritime administration to deal with the rapid changes in shipping. 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 direction,” Demetriades said, explaining that all means of communication, especially electronic, should be provided in an efficient and effective way, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“It is expected that the shipping industry will find its way out of the crisis and be able to stand on its own feet again, as has done in the past. The importance of shipping is highlighted by its ability to move the world trade in the most efficient way, with the least economic and environmental cost. Through the crisis, shipping has emerged stronger and promises better days for the world economy.
“It seems that the impact of the crisis on our shipping industry is manageable and our overall shipping infrastructure remains intact. The wealth of knowledge and expertise of our shipping industry, ‘navigates the industry to calm waters’ and even more enables it to identify and exploit effectively and efficiently new emerging opportunities that arise.”
Demetriades said that although the Department of Merchant Shipping is still a government office, it has successfully aligned its structure in order to provide the local industry and foreign users of the Registry with quality and timely services.
“However, we need to change and become more flexible in order to further promote the sector of shipping in this very competitive environment. 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.
The Minister said that the study identified the following five pillars:
1. The development and implementation Shipping Promotion Strategy; 2. Cooperation within the Cyprus Maritime Cluster; 3. Establishment of Shipping Incentive Schemes;
of a National 4. Fine tuning of the Ship Registry Pricing Policy; 5. Development of the One-Stop-Shipping Shop. Three working groups where established in order to examine and analyse the various measures proposed by the study and to suggest ways of implementation. The working groups consist of government officials and stakeholders of the maritime cluster.
At the same time, the study for the restructuring of the Department itself (part of the general study to restructure the Ministry) is expected to finish by the end of this year.