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Christodoulides: Government will continue working for sustainable growth of Cyprus' shipping

President Nikos Christodoulides has given reassurances that the government would continue to work towards the sustainable growth of Cyprus shipping, safeguarding at the same time the competitiveness of European shipping.

“As a small island country, with a strong maritime history, we have always relied on policies based on principles and values,” he said. In this context, he added, cooperation between the public and private sector “is of paramount importance.”

President Christodoulides spoke about the Deputy Ministry's "positive and very promising results” quoting among other things, a 5.5% increase in the fleet of Cyprus flagged seagoing vessels and a 14% increase in the number of companies registered in the Cyprus Tonnage Tax System, in the last six months.

Addressing the 35th Annual General Meeting of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber held in Limassol on 21 May, the President said that the shipping sector represents 7% of Cyprus’ GDP and has a substantial contribution to the development of the economy. Equally important is its role to the social and political development of our country, he added.

He noted that, last year marked 60 years since the establishment of the Registry of Cyprus Ships, and that, during this time “we have managed to maintain a robust, high-quality ship registry, which ranks in third place in Europe and 11th worldwide.”

The straightforward taxation system, the high level of ship safety, the full protection for financiers and mortgage lenders, the specialised knowledge and experience of human resources, the round-the-clock service, the zero registration fees, constitute a competitive and attractive framework of services and advantages provided by the Cyprus ship registry, President Christodoulides said.

Referring to the Chamber, he said that, over the years it has proven to be an invaluable partner of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that its members’ professionalism, dedication, and expertise “have been instrumental in steering our collective efforts towards the continuous advancement of the Cyprus shipping sector.” “Together we have elevated Cyprus to the forefront of the global maritime landscape,” he added, assuring that the government would continue to work towards the sustainable growth of Cyprus’ shipping, safeguarding at the same time the competitiveness of European shipping. 

The President said that shipping, being a global industry, operates in a complex and unique framework while it was also vulnerable to the volatile geopolitical climate and political and economic developments, facing numerous and unpredictable challenges. The green and digital transition, the war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, the war in Gaza and the global shortage of ship officers, are only few of the current challenges which can be tackled only by a collective approach that will facilitate international solutions, he added.

“As a small island country, with a strong maritime history, we have always relied on policies based on principles and values,” he said. In this context, he added, cooperation between the public and private sector “is of paramount importance.” “Your contribution is without doubt invaluable and I am confident that through our strong collaboration we will be able to develop policies and undertake actions that will successfully address existing challenges,” he said, addressing the Chamber members.

He also said that, gradually and over the years, “Cyprus has evolved into a full-fledged shipping centre, combining a prestigious sovereign registry of ships with high standards of safety, and a domestic shipping industry, renowned for its excellent quality services.”

During the past year, he said, the Shipping Deputy Ministry, implementing a priority that has been set when his government took over, has spearheaded numerous strategic initiatives and innovative actions. These initiatives, he added, aim to upgrade and strengthen the services provided by the Shipping Deputy Ministry, “and we are very pleased with the positive and very promising results.” Among other things, he said that a 5.5% increase was achieved during the last six months in the fleet of Cyprus flagged seagoing vessels. He also noted a 14% increase to the number of companies registered in the Cyprus Tonnage Tax System, reaching a total of 420.

Another achievement he referred to, was the launch of operations of the One Stop Shipping Centre in November, but also the reelection of Cyprus in the Council of the International Maritime Organization, which he said, was “an additional demonstration of Cyprus’ strong voice in shipping in international fora.”

He also referred to the approval by the Council of Ministers of a revised set of green incentives to reward ships that demonstrate effective greenhouse gas emission reductions.

President Christodoulides also said he was “pleased” to see increased participation of women in the maritime industry, noting that the government attaches great importance to and is an active supporter of gender equality, diversity and inclusion.

The Gender Equality Award in Cyprus Shipping, he added, was among the government’s many actions for promoting gender equality and women empowerment. The award, he said, is bestowed annually, to persons irrespective of their gender who have made significant contributions to advancing gender equality and women empowerment in the maritime sector.

The first award of this kind, he said, was presented on Monday to Despina Theodosiou, who was also the recipient of the first IMO Gender Equality award as the candidate of Cyprus. 

President Christodoulides said he recognises that more can be done in advancing the country’s maritime industry and that, among other things, an even closer cooperation between the government and the industry was required in order to be more effective and more productive.

In this context, he added, further objectives have been set and certain actions and initiatives are in progress in order to further promote the efficiency of the Shipping Deputy Ministry, among them, the full digitalisation of the services provided by the Shipping Deputy Ministry that is to be completed at the end of this year.

(Source: CNA)

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