Ship­ping can con­trib­ute more

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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