New Cyprus shipping minister at the helm

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Vassilis Demetriades on Friday assumed his duties as Cyprus’ new shipping minister replacing outgoing Natasa Pilides who took up her post as Energy Minister.

“Today is a special day for me,” Demetriades said in the official handover ceremony.

He recalled that 22 years ago he passed through the doors of the then Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS), as an employee with one unwavering aim, the growth of the Cyprus shipping sector.

He assured that his Deputy Ministry will “work as one team as we share the same passion and love for the sector which will endeavour to grow and develop further”.

“We will transform this passion into hard work to take Cypriot shipping even higher and to create and to put the sector on solid foundations so that we have a quality cluster of maritime activities that will constitute a long-standing source of growth for our economy,” Demetriades said.

Shipping is a major sector of the Cypriot economy, estimated to contribute 7% to the island’s GDP.

Pilides, Cyprus’s first shipping minister, said she is certain that the junior ministry is in “excellent hands”.

“I am proud because I believe we achieved the targets we set 2.5 years ago when the Deputy Ministry began operations.”

She said that in collaboration with the Cyprus Shipping Chamber and the Union of Shipowners they worked to achieve their aims.

“Resulting in the increase of shipping companies registered in the Cyprus maritime cluster to 242 from 168 and the increase of the Cyprus fleet to over 24 million tonnes.”

Pilides said that the relatively young Deputy Ministry has modernised its procedures to reduce red tape with a basic aim to improve the services provided to its customers.

Demetriades was an expert on maritime policy issues at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport.