It gives me great pleasure to be with you today in order to address the annual Frederick Maritime Day.
I would like to congratulate Frederick University for their initiative to establish an annual Maritime Day, as such initiatives undoubtedly enhance all efforts aiming to promote and develop one of the most significant pillars of the Cyprus economy.
Frederick University is an energetic and vibrant private university operating in the Republic of Cyprus. The University, enjoying respect and recognition both nationally and internationally, offers a broad range of academic programs of study, including maritime courses.
The availability of skilled human resources is at the very core of economic growth and employment in the Cyprus maritime cluster, as more and more of the maritime activities become knowledge-dependent. Therefore, the introduction of maritime courses in Cyprus Universities is very important, as they will supply to our shipping industry graduates with high quality maritime education and training. Our goal is to become gradually a maritime education hub in the Mediterranean.
Shipping is an industry of passion, knowledge and experience! These three words are the keys to success in the shipping industry not only for the private sector, but for the public sector as well. Cyprus is a world class shipping centre, attributed to a large extent to its passionate shipping people, their knowledge, know-how and expertise.
Merchant shipping is a business sector for which we are very proud of. It represents an invaluable asset for our country and consequently is placed on the top of our priority list. The Cyprus Ship Registry ranks among the leading ship registries internationally and has the third largest merchant fleet within the European Union, while its characterised by high standards of quality and safety. Cyprus however, is not just a flag; Cyprus is a respected and fully-fledged international maritime centre as well.
Our integrated maritime cluster comprises ship owning, ship management and chartering companies, and companies involved in other shipping related activities such as marine insurance, equipment suppliers, telecommunications and ship bunkering.
Cyprus Shipping offers a wide range of fiscal and economic incentives, including competitive ship registration costs and annual tonnage taxes, ensuring the fleets worldwide competitiveness. Cyprus has concluded treaties on the avoidance of double taxation with 56 countries and has also signed bilateral agreements of cooperation in merchant shipping with 24 countries. The Cyprus Tonnage Tax System, which has been approved by the European Commission in 2010, creates a climate of stability for shipping entrepreneurs in Cyprus.
The geopolitical situation in our area is changing fast and Cyprus is in the centre of these developments. New political balances are emerging, which are not unconnected with the discovery of energy reserves in our area. The discovery of hydrocarbons places new challenges on our shipping industry. Cyprus has the potential to develop into an important Energy Center in the Mediterranean. Offshore exploration and production of gas and oil, as well as their transportation ashore, require the operation of specialised ships and equipment and the supply of specialised supporting services. These new developments are very promising and widen the horizons of our shipping industry, creating relevant synergies.
Our aim is also for Cyprus to become a bunker hub. In that respect, we follow closely the issues relating to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as bunker fuel. There’s currently a pioneering project going on regarding the promotion and use of LNG as main fuel for the shipping industry as well as the development of LNG bunkering infrastructure in which our Cyprus Ports Authority and private Cypriot companies participate. We believe that the construction of an LNG bunkering station will increase the transshipment and in turn increase the number of vessels approaching Cyprus ports and terminals.
The sustainable growth of Cyprus Shipping represents one of the priorities of the Cyprus Government. The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works will do its utmost to enhance the competitiveness of our flag and of our maritime cluster.
Our objective for the future is to consolidate and further develop our role in world shipping and to provide the adequate conditions for a sustainable growth of the shipping sector in Cyprus.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As Cyprus has over the years become one of the largest and widely known shipping centres in the world and with further growth prospects anticipated in the shipping industry, we recognize the growing importance of shipping education. We need to promote the scientific development and interdisciplinary understanding of marine engineering, maritime science and marine technology in this important and specialised sector. The development of Cyprus as a maritime education centre will further enhance our maritime cluster.
In conclusion extend once again my congratulations to Frederick University for its excellent work performance and my appreciation for its support towards Cyprus Shipping.
Source: Press and Information Office