Shipping continues to be steam engine of world economy
Cyprus and Georgia enjoy a strong cooperation and friendly relationship in the area of shipping and this is further supported by the signing of the Bilateral Agreement on Merchant Shipping in 2014. Among others, the agreement provides for favoured-nation treatment for ships registered under both countries’ flags in our ports and mutual recognition of the certificates of seafarers issued from the two countries.
Cyprus is currently a fully developed maritime centre, combining both a strong sovereign flag and a resident shipping industry which is renowned for its high quality services and standards of safety. Our integrated maritime cluster includes ship owning, ship management and chartering companies, as well as companies involved in other shipping-related activities, such as marine insurance, equipment suppliers, telecommunications, and ship bunkering. The Cyprus Ship Registry today ranks among the leading ship registries internationally and has the third largest merchant fleet within the European Union.
The maintenance of a high quality fleet and the effective implementation of the internationally applicable standards for the safety of life at sea, the security of ships and port facilities, the protection of the marine environment and the standards for decent work on board ships, constitute the foundation on which Cyprus builds its reputation as a serious maritime flag and as a base for international operations.
Despite the unprecedented crisis that shipping has been facing for some time now, there is no doubt that it continues to be the steam engine of the world economy. Over 90% of international trade is carried by sea, which does not come as a surprise given the fact that it is by far the most costeffective method of bulk transportation of cargo. I believe that the World Maritime Day theme selected for 2016, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”, fully reflects this concept.
Shipping is not only the most cost efficient method of international trade, but also the most carbon efficient, as shown by its minor percentage contribution to the global green house gas emissions in the transport sector. It is estimated that shipping is responsible for just 2% of global CO2 emissions.
Regardless of the above, the international shipping community, through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), undertakes a lot of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and oil pollution and maintain clear and healthy oceans. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) remains until today, the main international instrument towards this goal. It is also supported by other legal instruments and measures, such as the new Water Ballast Treatment Convention, and actions taken to improve safety and the conditions of working on board the ships in order to minimize pollution from accidents.
Since becoming a member of the IMO in 1973, Cyprus has played a positive and constructive role in the organisation’s efforts to achieve the objectives of maritime safety and environmental protection, and it is determined to continue to contribute consistently to the efforts for enhancing maritime security and facilitation of maritime traffic worldwide. This is widely recognised among IMO member states, which have been electing Cyprus as a member of the IMO Council for the last 20 years.
I also wish to stress that the IMO should be the main body for setting the way forward for measures adopted in the World Maritime sector such as CO2 emissions monitoring.
Cyprus has concluded a strategy for its national Integrated Maritime Policy. This integrated approach will allow Cyprus to exploit sustainably the resources and capabilities of the sea and contribute to an optimal and sustainable development of all related activities, the creation of new jobs and opportunities and the improvement of the quality of the marine environment.
Sustainability is the key word in every sector of business and clearly in shipping, if we want to deliver a clean and healthy world to the next generations. Cyprus fully endorses this motto and strongly supports all initiatives towards this direction.