Reg­u­la­tions and e-ship­ping are part of a new ship­ping en­vi­ron­ment

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

An­dreas Chrysos­to­mou, Act­ing Di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Mer­chant Ship­ping said that the gov­ern­ment has al­ready started the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a study for the fu­ture of ship­ping in Cyprus, com­mis­sioned by the Min­istry of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions to en­hance the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the mar­itime sec­tor. He said that the po­lit­i­cal will ex­ists to de­velop and strengthen the role of Cyprus ship­ping in the in­ter­na­tional mar­itime scene at a more rapid pace.

He said that the sec­ond day of the Mar­itime Cyprus Con­fer­ence in Li­mas­sol fo­cused on “The New Ship­ping En­vi­ron­ment” and how in­ter­na­tional bod­ies and new tech­nolo­gies im­pact the ship­ping in­dus­try

Tues­day’s sec­ond ses­sion ex­am­ined some of the fac­tors that in­flu­ence the reg­u­la­tory de­ci­sions in in­ter­na­tional ship­ping and ad­dressed some of the key chal­lenges the ship­ping in­dus­try is fac­ing to­day in re­la­tion to the use of cy­ber-phys­i­cal sys­tems on board ships.

The de­bate was di­vided into two ses­sions, the first ses­sion fo­cused on the sub­ject “Do ship­ping peo­ple in­flu­ence de­ci­sions?” while the sec­ond ses­sion fo­cused on “e-Ship­ping”.

Dur­ing the first de­bate, pan­el­lists fo­cused on the reg­u­la­tory de­ci­sion mak­ing process, par­tic­u­larly mar­itime in­dus­try’s in­flu­ence at the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the Euro­pean Union.

The pan­el­lists agreed that mar­itime in­dus­try can be in­flu­en­tial in some cases depend­ing on the na­ture of the de­bate and the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions taken, while they ex­pressed con­cern about some of the en­vi­ron­men­tal de­ci­sions taken in re­la­tion to ship­ping dur­ing the past years and ques­tioned the method­ol­ogy fol­lowed in or­der to reach those de­ci­sions.

The pan­el­lists fur­ther noted that the ship­ping in­dus­try should be proac­tive in adopt­ing best prac­tices. Ad­di­tion­ally, they in­di­cated that co­or­di­nated ac­tion should be taken to per­suade public opin­ion that the ship­ping in­dus­try at­tributes great im­por­tance to en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

The dis­cus­sion on “e-ship­ping” ex­plored the im­pact of cy­berphys­i­cal sys­tems on board ships and how these sys­tems af­fect nav­i­ga­tion, sea­far­ers, safety and se­cu­rity of the ves­sels.

Pan­el­lists in­di­cated that e-ship­ping should be ‘user needs led’ rather than led by tech­nol­o­gists or reg­u­la­tors. Fur­ther­more, the pan­el­lists in­di­cated that the suc­cess of “e-nav­i­ga­tion” will rely heav­ily upon the proper in­volve­ment of all par­ties con­cerned and in par­tic­u­lar the sea­far­ers through­out its de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Some stressed that the aim of “e-ship­ping” is not to re­place the sea­far­ers on board ves­sels, but to as­sist sea­far­ers in tak­ing more in­for­ma­tive de­ci­sions thus mak­ing the ships safer and more ef­fi­cient.

Con­clud­ing, the pan­el­lists in­di­cated that de­spite the ad­vanced tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments, “e-ship­ping” has not yet ma­tured and fur­ther stud­ies are re­quired es­pe­cially with re­gards to main­tain­ing the cy­ber se­cu­rity which is vi­tal for the ship and the port fa­cil­i­ties.

The mar­itime sec­tor will get a facelift by next year, once the mar­itime strate­gic pol­icy, drafted by the Min­istry of Trans­port, is im­ple­mented in a bid to boost the ship­ping in­dus­try which con­trib­utes 7% to the is­land’s GDP, ac­cord­ing to Trans­port Min­is­ter Mar­ios Deme­tri­ades said.

The com­pe­tent min­is­ter su­per­vis­ing the Depart­ment of Mer­chant Ship­ping (DMS) also said that this unit will fi­nally get a new Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, prob­a­bly by the end of Septem­ber, that will not change oper­a­tions but will make things run smoother.

He said that the aim of the new strat­egy aims to pro­mote the mar­itime sec­tor de­spite the em­bargo which Tur­key has been im­pos­ing on Cyprus-flag ships since 1983, am­pers the is­land’s reg­istry which ranks tenth in the world, third in the EU and a leader in ship man­age­ment.

“There is no doubt that the Turk­ish em­bargo has a neg­a­tive im­pact on our ship reg­istry but this does not mean that there are no other is­sues to be tack­led and this is what we shall do,” he said.

He added that the pol­icy will in­clude pro­mo­tion cam­paigns but also new in­cen­tives re­gard­ing fees and taxes. Deme­tri­ades did not elab­o­rate as these in­cen­tives are be­ing as­sessed by var­i­ous com­mit­tees.

He said that as part of the Min­istry’s restruc­tur­ing plan, the DMS will also be over­hauled so that it will be in a po­si­tion to cope with the needs and re­quire­ments of the mod­ern mar­itime in­dus­try.

“Qual­ity, flex­i­bil­ity, im­me­di­ate ser­vice and cred­i­bil­ity will make up the Depart­ment’s new cor­po­rate iden­tity,” he said, adding that the DMS will ac­quire a new web­site and the Min­istry is ex­am­in­ing the pos­si­bil­ity to serve DMS clients through the in­ter­net and smart­phones.

He an­nounced that the Min­istry will ap­point the new DMS Di­rec­tor, a po­si­tion which has re­mained va­cant since 2012 be­cause of a ban on public sec­tor hir­ing and pro­mo­tions due to the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Cyprus Ship­ping Cham­ber for­mer Chair­man Eu­gen Adami said that geopol­i­tics are also ham­per­ing the global ship­ping in­dus­try, not­ing that although the ship­ping in­dus­try is not re­spon­si­ble for the geopo­lit­i­cal prob­lems, the em­bar­goes from and to Rus­sia have paral­ysed trade in the Black Sea.

“We would only hope that geopo­lit­i­cally the world will come to a bet­ter bal­ance so that con­sump­tion not only for the ship­ping in­dus­try but for the world will pick up and as soon as this hap­pens the car­goes will flow again,” he con­cluded.

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