Merchant shipping constitutes an “invaluable asset of our country,” Transport Minister Marios Demetriades said on Tuesday, pledging that shipping is a joint priority for himself and the government.
Addressing an event in Limassol on “Shipping: an industry of passion, knowledge and experience” organised by Maravilhosa, Demetriades said this commitment is key to the success of the shipping industry, not only for the private sector but for the public sector as well.
He added that the fact that Cyprus is a world class shipping centre, “is attributed to a large extent to its passionate shipping people in the private and public sectors, their knowledge, know-how and expertise.”
“Merchant shipping is a sector of which we are very proud. It represents an invaluable asset for our country and is on the top of our priority list of the whole Government, of the responsible Ministry and also the President himself,” he said.
Recalling that the Cyprus flag ranks among the leading ship registries internationally and has the third largest merchant fleet within the European Union boasting high standards of quality and safety, Demetriades said that Cyprus is not just a flag registry, it is a whole maritime centre.
“Our integrated maritime cluster comprises ship owning, ship management and chartering companies, as well as companies involved in other shipping related activities, such as marine insurance, equipment suppliers, telecommunications, ship bunkering and the ports,” he went on to say.
Noting that the sector employs 40,000 people, Demetriades stressed that he strongly believes that the sector can grow more and it can employ more people, both onshore but also offshore as well.
He said the government will offer a number of scholarships for those interested to attend courses on maritime industry. "We have to encourage these new courses because we have to accept that we need new blood in the industry", he concluded.
Muriel Matta coordinated the panel discussion at the Elias Beach Hotel in order to share real-life shipping stories and provide a learning session for new industry professionals, as well as to engage a dialogue between shipping executives and young aspiring professionals.