Coronavirus impact on Cyprus shipping “unavoidable”

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The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Cyprus shipping is unavoidable, Deputy Minister of Shipping Natasa Pilides said.

“I believe the impact will be unavoidable both on the Cypriot economy and on Cyprus shipping through the financial results of the shipping companies which unfortunately will be affected,” Pilides told CNA.

The shipping and ship management industry in Cyprus is estimated to generate around 7% of the island’s GDP.

Noting that shipping will continue operating, the Deputy Minister added: “we hope that we will overcome the crisis and we will recover.”

Pilides cautioned that “we cannot know the extent of the impact as we cannot forecast how long the crisis will last.”

She said, so far, there have been no isolation of Cypriot-flagged ships but some delays in deliveries and in crew changes due to the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Shipments of goods are continuing,” Pilides said.

The Deputy Ministry has suspended physical contact as part of preventive measures against the spread of the disease but also in a bid to facilitate shipping.

Pilides pointed out the shipping industry was one of the first sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak as world trade is taking place mainly with countries in Asia.

“Ships could not approach ports, ships from various destinations could not be accepted, seafarers were quarantined, crew changes could not be carried out and ship deliveries could not be made as shipyards suspended operations.”

Moreover, she said that the cruise sector will be affected the most and will bear longer-term damage compared with commercial shipping.