The Cyprus Deputy Ministry for Shipping is expected to create new expectations for the island’s maritime industry, Thomas Kazakos, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) Director General, has said.
The establishment of a Deputy Ministry for shipping was approved unanimously by the Parliament in late 2017 and is expected to become operational on March 1.
“The unanimous House approval of the Deputy Ministry for shipping is expected to act as compelling leverage on the current maritime industry to continue operating in Cyprus. It will also help attract additional quality shipowning and shipping companies, given that the new institutional structure will provide a faster and more efficient solution to the shipping companies’ operating problems,” he said, in an article reviewing 2017 and aspiring to 2018.
In this way, Kazakos added, this will have a positive effect on a further reduction of unemployment and on enhancing other services that provide support to the maritime industry, and act as a link between shipping and the emerging energy sector in Cyprus.
Furthermore, Kazakos said "it is urgent to exploit the remaining period until March 1 so that the Deputy Ministry will be able to operate effectively from the first day of the implementation of this promising institution, especially concerning the restructuring of the Department of Merchant Shipping.”
According to the CSC Director, the Cypriot ship registry ranks 11th globally and 3rd in Europe, while Cyprus is considered the largest ship-management centre in the EU and one of the three largest in the world.
Cyprus, he added, is home to more than 200 ship-owning and ship-managing companies, with the wider maritime cluster employing around 4,500 local staff and 55,000 seafarers.
Moreover, Kazakos said that, following the EU approval of Cyprus’ tonnage tax system in 2010, shipping companies in Cyprus increased by more than 65%, whereas revenue from shipping rose by 25%.
Kazakos recalled that the contribution of shipping to the Cypriot GDP amounts to 7%, adding that the 2017 data show that income generated in Cyprus by maritime transport exceeded €1 billion.
Concluding, he said that the Deputy Ministry should operate with flexibility and effectiveness and the Deputy Minister should set the immediate planning and implementation of the State Maritime Policy, both on a short and long-term basis, as well as the upgrade of the services to shipping companies as his primary targets.