The Government will continue to offer its full support to shipping and through its national strategy, will continue to further consolidate collaboration between the Deputy Ministry of Shipping and the shipping industry to effectively respond to the needs of the sector, pledged here on Monday President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades.
He made the remarks during his address at the `Sea Change 2030` conference held at the Presidential Palace where the government’s Long-Term Strategy for Cyprus shipping, crafted by the Shipping Deputy Ministry in collaboration with the local, regional and global industry over the last six months, was presented.
The President said he has no doubt that through the powerful collaborations and constructive cooperation already nurtured, “we will be able to effectively secure the promotion of ambitious actions that have been set out”.
The President referred to the decision taken three years ago to create the Shipping Deputy Ministry to enable Cyprus to effectively respond to international competition. As a result, the Cyprus fleet is ranked 11th in the world and 3rd in the European Union and surpassing, for the first time since our accession to the EU, 25 million in gross tonnage.
Cyprus, he added, is the largest ship management center in Europe and one of the largest in the world, while there is an increasing trend in the creation of shipping companies in Cyprus.
President Anastasiades said the shipping companies that are included in the Tonnage Tax System have almost tripled in the last decade. From 97 registered companies in 2012, companies increased to 173 in 2017 and have reached 275 since the creation of the Deputy Ministry three years ago.
In addition, the President said the number of companies offering similar and supportive services to shipping has increased significantly, while there is a particular interest for new companies to emerge.
He also said that on land, more than nine thousand people work in the maritime sector while the number of seafarers employed on the ships flying the Cypriot flag amounts to 55 thousand. At the same time, he continued, there has been a significant increase in the number of people interested in working in the shipping and maritime industry.
President Anastasiades pointed out that Cypriot students enrolled at the Merchant Navy Academies of Cyprus and Greece have doubled in the last eight years, from 128 in 2012 to 269 in the current academic period, with the Government supporting maritime studies with scholarships and training grants amounting to 300 thousand euros per year.
All this, he said, indicates the vote of confidence in the policies the government is following and to maintain and strengthen our financial incentives, as well as the upgrading of the services provided to those involved in the shipping industry.
In his remarks, Deputy Minister of Shipping Vasilis Demetriades said that long-term SEA Change 2030, the government’s new strategic vision for shipping, concentrates on “Sustainability. Extrovert. Adaptability’”.
He told the conference at the Presidential Palace that the strategy feeds into Cyprus’ vision of a shipping sector that emulates each of these three elements, and will comprise 35 concrete sustainable actions, to be executed within a specific time frame to meet greening goals.
Demetriades said that each strategic vision includes a number of actions and initiatives which will contribute to a positive change, strengthening the dynamic and securing a viable future for Cypriot shipping.
The new philosophy, he added, is expected to lay the foundations for strengthening the competitiveness of the Cyprus Registry and its shipping product, for the effective handling of the increasing demands of modern shipping, as well as the current and future challenges arising from international and regional economic and geopolitical developments.
It is also expected to lay the foundations to further strengthen relations with other states, as well as with regulatory authorities at the international and European level, for continuous consultation and communication with the shipping industry through the creation of a "Cyprus Open Maritime Exchange" (COME) web platform, for further strengthening safety levels in Cyprus-flagged ships as well as to set up a special framework for a Limited Liability Shipping Company.