We have laid a solid foundation for the future of Cyprus shipping, Deputy Minister says

Cyprus is now a quality shipping hub that has nothing to be envious about and makes us proud with its performance abroad, said on Wednesday Shipping Deputy Minister to the President, Vassilis Demetriades.

He was speaking during a press conference for the work achieved by the Deputy Ministry in the last five years. Demetriades has been Deputy Shipping Minister since July 2020.

During the presentation, the Deputy Minister stated that a solid foundation has been laid for the future of shipping in our country, despite the challenges caused in the last three years by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine and EU sanctions against of Russia, which negatively affected the Cypriot fleet.

“Since the day the war started we have recorded losses of 3.7 million total tonnage, of which 2 million relate to the sanctions, while the other 1.7 million fall under the expected loss”, he said and indicated that, at the same time, an inflow of 2 million total tonnage was recorded, “with the Cypriot registry proving durable” and total tonnage reaching 23.8 million.

Demetriades recalled that, about a year and a half ago, the Deputy Ministry drafted its vision for shipping, through the “SEA Change 2030” National Strategy, which includes 35 sustainable actions, of which 23 have already been implemented, with another two expected to be launched soon.

He also spoke of the establishment of a one-stop-shipping-shop with the adoption of the legislative framework of the Limited Liability Shipping Company. Moreover, he added, by 2024 all services offered by the Deputy Ministry will be provided digitally, noting that, within the next few days, the mobile app of the Deputy Ministry “CYSh1P” will be launched, with the digital services being accessible to all.

The tripling, in the last decade, of the companies that fall under the Special Tax System governing Cypriot shipping (97 companies in 2012 – 302 companies in 2022) is noted as important, with the largest increase observed in the last five years, following the establishment of the Deputy Ministry.

“These companies are not limited to ship management and ship ownership, but we have attracted telecommunications companies, specialised IT companies, ship insurance companies”, he said and indicated that the ambition is for Cyprus to become a Center for Arbitration and Mediation of maritime disputes.

“We are also cultivating a culture of research and innovation in shipping through a productive collaboration with the Research and Innovation Foundation on the basis of which we created the RISE Program (Research Innovation Shipping Environment), through which RIF has already allocated more than of 10 million euros for research and innovative projects that support the green and digital transformation of shipping, while a call for submission of interest for strategic infrastructure programmes in the shipping sector, amounting to 2.5 million euros, is under development”, he added.

The Deputy Minister underlined the leading presence of Cyprus in maritime events, in recent years, having signed a memorandum of cooperation with the UAE, “while 15 days ago a memorandum of cooperation was agreed with the United Kingdom which is expected to be signed before the end of term of the present Government.”

In addition, he continued, a cooperation memorandum with Panama and Sierra Leone is being prepared, “while we have taken initiatives to strengthen security in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the protection of the marine environment, with the expansion of the Mediterranean memorandum”.

He also recalled that Cyprus has been elected for a second consecutive term in the Council of the International Maritime Organization and announced that “on its own initiative, Cyprus has proposed, to the countries of the Commonwealth, an agenda for the oceans and it is expected, within 2023, that we will host Commonwealth of Nations Ministerial Conference on oceans protection matters.”

“With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we responded to the demands of the shipping community and made it possible for affected seafarers, whether Ukrainian or Russian, to open bank accounts,” he said, stressing that “through very hard negotiation, we managed to limit the cost of the sanctions in shipping, highlighting that sanctions must be effective, ensure equal competition and take into account the particularity of shipping”.

The Cyprus-Greece Sea Passenger Link is considered one of the most obvious, for the wider society, achievements of the Deputy Ministry. He indicated that, around mid-February, announcements from the company are expected for the new season, which is estimated to resume at the end of May.

“As far as the Blue Economy is concerned, we have formulated the Maritime Spatial Planning of Cyprus, the marine cadastral registry, with which we seek to develop the potential of our seas in a sustainable way, with its implementation, in about two months”, said Demetriades, expressing the belief that the momentum will be created for investments in our seas “whether they concern RES or other activities”.

He also said that “we managed for Cyprus to undertake the organization of the European Maritime Day in 2026, a great event, where the lights of the entire Europe will shine on Limassol, an event which coincides with the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of EU”.

Source: Cyprus News Agency