President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades praised the shipping sector’s resilience, despite the adverse conditions caused by the pandemic, while addressing on Thursday evening a dinner hosted by the Cyprus Union of Shipowners (CUS), in Athens.
President Anastasiades underlined the contribution of the shipping sector to the Cypriot economy, in the order of 7% of the country’s GDP, while noting that the commercial fleet surpassed recently a gross tonnage of 25 mln.
He also referred to an increasing trend in setting up shipping companies in Cyprus, which, he said, is a “vote of confidence” for government policies to upgrade the services offered to shipowners and ship managers choosing Cyprus as the base of their entrepreneurial activities.
The government’s sensibility to its shipping partners was also displayed through its immediate response to the humanitarian issue of repatriating seafarers who found themselves trapped, due to the pandemic, and allowing crews to change. More than 25 thousand seafarers were repatriated from Cyprus ports, the President underlined. He also said that 40 thousand seafarers who are employed in Cyprus-flagged ships or ships managed from Cyprus, got the jab through the government’s national vaccination programme.
Moreover, the President said that the government is constantly alert to evaluate EU guidelines and update the tax and other incentives it is offering. “And this is so, because as a responsible government we are fully aware that in order to retain and further enhance Cyprus shipping competitiveness, the creation of strong bonds of cooperation between regulatory authorities and the shipping industry are required, both at a national, as well as a regional and international level” the President noted.
He said moreover that the shipping tax framework, which has the approval of the European Commission, has been recently strengthened with additional incentives for environmentally-friendly vessels, in an effort to reward shipowners’ efforts to meet the challenges of green transformation.
President Anastasiades also referred to the government’s strategic vision to render Cyprus shipping more flexible, competitive and modern, while strengthening its presence in global and European affairs.
This plan contains 35 targeted actions, and is adjusting the organisational chart and practices of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping to address challenges and opportunities, leading to a sustainable future for Cyprus shipping, he added.
The President noted that the strategy was a result of consultations between the competent Deputy Minister and relevant authorities and bodies, with CUS having a prominent role. He also congratulated CUS President and the Board of Directors for their work.
CUS President Andreas Hadjiyiannis said in his speech that they have been witness to the priority ascribed to shipping matters by the government and the President himself. He also said that it was odd that the EU has not acknowledged yet the place the shipping sector deserves.