Cyprus a ‘great maritime success story’, says IMO chief
Cyprus shipping has been praised as a ‘great success story’ by the head of the world maritime body, while the government, having recently upgraded its maritime department to a junior ministry, has pledged to adopt new strategies to improve infrastructure and help tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
President Nicos Anastasiades addressed the annual general assembly of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, the biggest industry group and a leading force of influence in the maritime world.
Anastasiades said: “We are well aware of the fact that the Cyprus shipping sector operates in a continuously evolving and highly competitive global environment, and this, in turn, requires stability and innovative planning which supports long-term planning and investment. Consolidating and enhancing the competitiveness of our flag and our maritime cluster remains one of the most important priorities of the government.”
Addressing Ki-tack Lim, the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), he said: “Cyprus will continue to actively and constructively participate in the work and future evolution of IMO, including on new strategies adopted, such as the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.”
The president said he was confident the recent upgrade of the Department of Merchant Shipping to a junior ministry “will evolve into an effective and efficient one-stop-shippingshop, which will develop, implement and promote strategies and policies so as to provide a more business friendly service at all levels..
“Developing a State Shipping Policy involves the incorporation of a number of important elements, such as, among others, a competitive shipping taxation framework. The government will continue examining ways of introducing further tax and other incentives, within the framework of European Union regulations, in order to ensure that Cyprus remains competitive as a shipping centre.
“In parallel, ‘blue growth’ in the fields of maritime training and education, research and development, as well as technology and innovation, are also important elements that will be further promoted and form part of our state shipping policy.
“In addition, the government has given its full support to the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, in close co-operation with a number of other maritime cluster stakeholders in Cyprus, for the establishment of a Cyprus “Foundation of the Sea”.
The Foundation is based on a Public Private Partnership structure intended to act as a forum which, through proper research and development, will provide guidance as to the type of research, education and training that is required in the marine and maritime fields.
Anastasiades added that it is well known, that Cyprus plays an important leading role in the International Shipping scene, with the 11th largest shipping fleet worldwide, the third largest in the European Union and the largest thirdparty Ship-management Centre in the EU.
He said efforts towards the lifting of the Turkey embargo on Cyprus ships calling at Turkish ports will continue and be further intensified.
“To this end, I am pleased to observe that a number of shipping companies have transferred their headquarters to Cyprus, whilst in the first five months of 2018, 52 new ships were registered in the Cyprus Registry and the companies using Cyprus tonnage tax system increased by 12,” he added.
IMO Secretary General, Ki-tack Lim in his speech said that he considers Cyprus a great success story in shipping internationally and a major player in the maritime world. In addition, he made special reference to the commendable work of the IMO and the shipping industry to move towards an even “greener” international shipping industry.
Lim turned to the IMO’s Environmental Protection Committee’s adoption of the initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, noting that this decision has been acclaimed “as a development of historic global significance.”
He said, “for the first time, there is a clear policy commitment to a complete phase out of CHG emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement and a series of clear levels of ambition including at least a 50% cut in emissions from the sector by 2050.”
Lim added: “We at the IMO must do our part to ensure that the planet has a sustainable future.”
CSC President Themis Papadopoulos said after the international financial crisis and the subsequent turmoil in global shipping, 2017 has led to a more balanced supply and demand, providing the grounds for cautious optimism in the near term.
Papadopoulos said that despite the challenging environment, Cyprus has not only managed to maintain both the resident industry and the Cyprus registry in good shape, but to record significant increases, as in the last five years there has been an increase of 65% of shipping companies registered under Cyprus tonnage tax system, while revenue from shipping has increased by over 26%.
Welcoming the establishment of the Deputy Ministry for Shipping, Papadopoulos said with the right upgrading to the services and support offered by the Ministry to resident companies and Cyprus flag users it will enable further growth.
The Chamber’s Director General, Thomas Kazakos, praised Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides for the introduction of the junior ministry, headed by Natasa Pilides.