SHIPPING: Maritime Cyprus participation hits record high

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Maritime Cyprus 2019 has exceeded all expectations with an unprecedented number of participants reaching more than 1000 shipping executives including IMO boss Kitack Lim while Brexit is a concern.

Deputy Shipping Minister Natasa Pilides said the messages received for Cyprus shipping are positive with companies expressing an interest in expanding and relocating their activities to the island.

She said participation at the conference in Limassol exceeded every precedent.

Pilides argued the continued increase of participants proves Cyprus is not only recognized internationally as a shipping centre of great importance, but it also contributes to decision-making and formulation of international maritime policies.

She has held meetings with executives from foreign companies who have expressed their intention to relocate their activities to Cyprus because of Brexit.

The European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc in a video message said: “Cyprus commands global respect for its shipping fleet and longstanding quality maritime cluster”.

“I know how important the sector is for the Cypriot economy and I welcome the political attention that the maritime sector receives in Cyprus. I hope you have recognized also our efforts to make sure maritime stays in focus also at the EU level.” 

Director General of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber Thomas Kazakos told CNA that Maritime Cyprus reflects the evolution of Cypriot shipping which enjoys the recognition it deserves as one of the largest maritime players both at European and international level.

He hoped Brexit will not negatively affect Cypriot shipping, but instead, it will create yet another opportunity to attract more shipping companies to Cyprus.

Attendees were reminded the emissions impact of shipping has put pressure on both regulators and the industry to act.

There was universal agreement that regional regulations should be avoided to ensure the industry maintains global rules for a global industry.

A panel discussion explored “Shipowners: The new landscape”.

While some panellists were vehement in their support for reducing speed to achieve emissions reductions immediately, others suggested learning from the technology adopted in other industries and believed that shipping`s future will see a combination of emissions reductions initiatives to achieve its goals.

It was stated that shipping is in a game-changing era of transformation, with key drivers being decarbonisation and digitalisation.

Panellists underlined shipowners’ widespread commitment to improving the industry’s impact on the environment, saying the perception of shipowners can often be unjust.

The importance of people and attracting talent was also emphasised, with acknowledgement the younger generation wants to see a clear direction for the application of environmental measures, otherwise, they will pursue careers in other industries.