CYPRUS: Shipping bodies to merge into single maritime force

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The island’s two main shipping organisations, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber and Cyprus Union of Shipowners, have decided to merge into a single formidable force that will look after the interests of the entire maritime cluster.

This will end the duplication of representation in international organisations and fora and will help streamline efforts to promote the Cyprus flag and the island as a leading maritime cluster.

Over the past three decades, both trade associations had been working separately. More recently they cooperated on critical issues such as the tax package to attract investments to the island and under the Cyprus flag, conforming with international regulations on emissions and pollution, safety of vessels, security of ships, as well as labour and technology issues.

The CSC is an umbrella organisation comprising 200 shipowning, shipmanagement, chartering and shipping related companies based either in Cyprus or abroad.

The CUS has more than 40 members, mainly international shipping companies with vessels under the Cyprus flag.

Together, both employ some 9,000 onshore staff, with a further 55,000 crew onboard ships, of whom 35,000 are on Cypriot-flag vessels.

In a joint announcement, the two bodies aim “through the merging of the CSC and CUS, to create a new unified association representing Cyprus shipowners, shipmanagers and the wider shipping industry at large, in Cyprus and internationally, on all policy, operational and labour shipping matters, administered by one secretariat.”

They said the draft merger agreement will soon be presented in detail to the CSC and CUS members respectively, for consideration and subsequent formal approval, together with all the relevant transitional arrangements that will need to be taken for the new association to be formally set up.

The announcement coincides with the final day of the 16th Maritime Cyprus Conference held in Limassol this week, aptly titled “Sea Change”.

President of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber is Philippos Philis, he was recently elected as the first Cypriot Vice President of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) for the next two years in recognition of the role Cyprus plays in the global industry.

Both the CSC and the CUS are based in Limassol and the merger will result in more efficient representation of Cyprus overseas.

The CSC is active in the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO).

Members of the Chamber also regularly participate in many international meetings, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the European Union (EU) meetings in Geneva, London and Brussels and in a number of their Committees, where the Chamber functions as consultant to the Cyprus government representatives as part of the Cyprus shipping delegation or as the representative of the Cyprus shipping industry.

The President of the Cyprus Union of Shipowners is Andreas Hadjiyiannis.

The CUS represents its members before all trade unions as well as the International Tradeworkers Federation (I.T.F).

It participates in IMO Technical Committees, having a permanent representative within the Cypriot delegation acting as the Cyprus government’s consultant.

It also maintains close relations with international security bodies, i.e. MARLU (NATO Unit) that deal with vital issues such as piracy and provide their members with useful contacts and prompt information.

Monitoring government legislative and regulatory actions, initiatives by various international marine organizations, political trends and public policy relating to navigation, safety and to the Cyprus shipping environment. Also, it conducts strategic communications and public relations campaigns.