Ship­ping con­tin­ues to be steam en­gine of world econ­omy

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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