Bradshaw: "All the large ship managers have their offices located here in Cyprus“

As the new Country Director of Cyprus for Fleet Management Limited (FLEET), Mike Bradshaw shares his vision for the company and its future in this exclusive interview with CBN.

Among other things, Bradshaw also reveals his views on Cyprus’ shipping sector and how he sees the industry developing on a global level over the coming years.

Congratulations on your new position. Can you tell us about your vision for the company as the Country Director, Cyprus for Fleet Management Limited?

At FLEET, our vision is to be recognised globally as a sustainable, responsive, and customer-centric ship management services provider.

Our focus for our Cyprus office aligns with this vision by aiming to expand into the European market through strategic partnerships. We are committed to delivering genuine value and quality to our customers' operations. Our Nicosia team, comprised of highly competent and enthusiastic professionals, forms a solid foundation for our continued growth in this region.

You have over 20 years of experience at companies and organisations based in the UK and Dubai. What do you consider to have been some of the highlights of your career so far?

I started my career as a seafarer; I pursued the somewhat unusual path of being both a navigating officer and a marine engineer. At that time, I never imagined I would be fortunate enough to be involved in such a rewarding and exciting industry.

The international shipping industry plays a crucial role in the success of many cities, towns, and even countries. This industry is responsible for transporting approximately 90% of the world's trade, making shipping the lifeblood of the global economy.

However, the shipping industry is not just about ships and cargo, it is also about people and relationships. Therefore, as I look back on the various roles I have held in Glasgow, Dubai, and now here in Nicosia, the highlight must be the opportunity to work with a hugely diverse group of colleagues, many of whom are now friends.

How do you view Cyprus’ shipping, and more specifically, ship management sector?

It’s an exciting time to be in Cyprus. Cyprus has a well-established and significant presence in the global shipping industry, and its ship-management sector plays a crucial role in this maritime landscape. It is the largest third-party ship management centre in the European Union, and one of the largest in the world. It is estimated that approximately 4% of the world’s fleet is managed from Cyprus. Among the ship owning and ship management companies established and operating from Cyprus, 90% are controlled by EU, including Cypriot interests. There are 200 plus companies involved in shipping based in Cyprus and therefore, the industry is very well supported by the government and the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, as the trade association of the shipping industry in Cyprus. The government is providing green tax incentives to shipowners and operators, encouraging and supporting ships registered in Cyprus to use alternative fuels. They are also offering funding tools and programmes to drive innovation and research and supporting the industry in its green transition pathway.

Also read: FLEET names Mike Bradshaw as Country Director, Cyprus

Cyprus also has a long-term strategy called “Sea Change 2030”, consisting of 35 action points aimed at making Cyprus a key player in the shaping of international policies. For a relatively small country, it has increasing influence on the global stage, and it is amongst the countries having a prominent role in forming global shipping policies with a strong presence and a powerful voice in all shipping fora and international organisations such as the IMO, the ILO, and the European Union.

When it comes to ship management, all the large ship managers have their offices located here in Cyprus. FLEET's Cyprus office is based in Nicosia, while most other ship management companies are based in Limassol. What sets us apart is that we are privately owned, in contrast to being owned by private equity. This unique ownership structure enables us to achieve organic growth while maintaining the highest standards of quality across our fleet.

More widely, what do you consider to be some of the most significant current challenges and, alternatively, most interesting recent developments within the global ship management industry?

2022 and 2023 have been challenging for the shipping industry. As we all started to shake off the effects of the Covid pandemic, we then suffered from the uncertainty of the geopolitical and economic impact of the situation in Ukraine. High energy costs and large volumes of raw materials and food inaccessible to market in light of the crisis have created volatility in cargoes available for vessels to carry.

The shipping industry operates on the fundamental principles of supply and demand, and the resulting impact on the shipping business has been significant. Our customers' demand for safe, reliable, and efficient management services has never been stronger, and at FLEET, we continue to exceed their expectations.

Our role as a ship manager has evolved over the years, and today, we are a strategic partner to our ship owners. Our relationships are built on the tenets of trust, reliability, and the value we add as a ship manager that enables our customers to secure and maximise their investments over time.

Further to the above, how do you anticipate the sector developing over the coming years?

The shipping industry is facing increasing pressure to adopt ESG principles, particularly in reducing carbon emissions. The impending European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) poses a significant challenge, as vessel operators will need to purchase and surrender carbon allowances based on emissions data. This will introduce complexity and potentially raise shipping costs, impacting end consumers. In response, at FLEET, we are supporting our customers with vessel build supervision, dual fuel conversion management, and digital tools for performance monitoring. We are also training our staff on new technologies to ensure safe operations and environmental stewardship.

I firmly believe that with innovative solutions and young talent, the industry can meet environmental commitments responsibly and economically.

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