Resolving the Cyprus problem would unleash the full potential of Cyprus’ maritime sector because it would also entail the lifting of Turkey’s embargo on Cypriot sea traffic, Junior Minister of Shipping Natasa Pilides said on Tuesday.
Pilides, speaking at the 8th Nicosia Economic Congress, said the Turkish embargo on Cypriot sea and air traffic was a thorn.
“The aim should be the solution of the Cyprus problem,” she said. “I believe one of the benefits of a solution to the Cyprus problem, beyond having a united country with whatever it entails, is the fact that we will have an exceptionally flourishing shipping industry,” she said.
Pending that, the minister said, there are other ways of promoting Cypriot shipping by aiming at companies and markets that are not really affected by the Turkish embargo.
“This is what we do in the meantime and hope a solution to the Cyprus problem will be achieved, thrusting the growth of shipping.”
Cyprus has the 11th biggest fleet in the world and the third in the EU. The island is the third largest shipping management centre in the world with the sector contributing some 7per cent to the island’s GDP.
Pilides, the first minister of the newly-created outfit, said she wanted to further expand the Cypriot maritime complex.
Among her priorities is opening an office in Asia and creating a one-stop shop at the ministry to provide companies with all the services they need.
“I believe we have already achieved that in relation to maritime services, but there are other things the companies need,” she said, like various licences, company registration, and others.
Other priorities include blue growth, which according to the EU, is the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole, drafting an effective plan to promote Cypriot shipping, and automate the ministry.