The Government aims to maintain Cyprus´ leading role in the world shipping scene through continuous development and growth, said Minister of Communications and Works Marios Demetriades at the 2nd Cyprus Shipping Forecast Forum.
Stressing the importance of shipping as a source of income to the local economy that dipped into recession since last year, the Minister said that during these extremely tough times, the shipping sector is invited to play an even greater leading role.
“Shipping is a significant pillar of our economy in its capacity to act as a wide gateway of foreign investments to our island and this is of crucial importance on Cyprus´s path towards economic recovery”, he pointed out.
Noting that the sustainable growth of Cyprus’ Shipping is one of the priorities of the Government, he assured stakeholders in the shipping industry that the Ministry will do its utmost to enhance the competitiveness of the Cyprus flag and its maritime cluster.
As Demetriades said, the Cypriot Ministry will continue to improve and update the incentives offered to shipping entrepreneurs, and explore new incentives ensuring that Cyprus’s attractiveness and competitiveness as a ship management and shipping centre are safeguarded.
With regard to the piracy activity in the high risk areas of Indian Ocean and West Africa, the Minister said that the Department of Merchant Shipping has prepared in 2012 comprehensive new legislation in order to counteract unlawful acts against Cyprus Flag ships, by establishing the required legislative framework allowing the use of private armed personnel on board in Cyprus flagged vessels, when these vessels are sailing through high risk areas.
Referring to the discovery of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, the Minister said it creates new prospects for Cyprus and its economy.
“These new developments widen the horizons of our shipping industry, creating relevant synergies. The discovery of hydrocarbons places new challenges on our shipping industry. 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”, he noted.
Demetriades added that many Cyprus based shipping companies are very keen to be involved in the industry and some of them have already taken this step by broadening their services and activities. He said that it is also anticipated that foreign shipping companies will relocate their offices and operations in Cyprus in order to explore the benefits of the emerging East Mediterranean offshore market.
Forum Chairman Richard Clayton, Chief Maritime Analyst at IHS Maritime UK, said that in spite of the comments of skeptics who doubted the determination and resolve of Cyprus Shipping Chamber, Cyprus continues to punch above its weight as a ship register and a ship management cluster.
“It does so because this community shows a commitment to the industry that has little to do with size and much to do with professionalism”, he said.
Addressing the Minister, he said that after his meeting on Thursday with the Minister he was impressed by his vision for the shipping industry.
Cyprus is a leading international shipping centre, offering a favorable regime for foreign investors. The island’s 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 and telecommunications, and ship bunkering.
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