President Nicos Anastasiades praised the resilience of the shipping sector during a dinner hosted by the Cyprus Union Of Shipowners in Athens.
Anastasiades underlined shipping’s contribution to the Cypriot economy, saying it represented 7 per cent of the country’s GDP and that the Cyprus-flagged commercial fleet had surpassed 25 million gross tons in total capacity.
The upward trend of shipping companies relocating to Cyprus was also mentioned. The president said this was “a vote of confidence in government policies that aim to enhance the services provided to shipowners, shipping magnates and ship management companies.”
“What I would like to emphasize is that, within the framework of European Union guidelines, the government is always vigilant in assessing and implementing tax and other incentives, always on the basis of your own suggestions “, Anastasiades said.
“We are fully aware that in order to maintain and further strengthen the competitiveness of the Cypriot shipping sector, it is necessary to create strong cooperation links between the regulatory authorities and the shipping industry,” he added.
Anastasiades also outlined the government’s vision for the shipping sector, with flexibility, competitiveness and modernisation being key objectives.
“The plan includes 35 targeted actions while adapting the organisational structure and the practices of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping to the challenges and emerging opportunities to ensure a sustainable future for Cypriot shipping,” the president said. Part of this plan included legislation for limited liability shipping companies, which the government was in the process of finalising and submitting to parliament.
Anastasiades also mentioned that the government will strengthen the staffing of the network of shipping offices of the Republic of Cyprus abroad, create a user-friendly electronic maritime library, create a dedicated electronic helpdesk that will act as a single point of contact for all shipping company requests, as well as providing financial tools to encourage research and innovation in shipping.
“We are all witnesses to president Anastasiades and his government’s prioritisation of shipping industry issues and we have acknowledged the president’s exceptional ability to promote the interests of both the Cypriot economy and Cypriot shipping,” said President of the Cyprus Union Of Shipowners, Andreas Hadjiyiannis.
“It is paradoxical that the European Union has not given shipping the status it deserves,” he said and added: “The EU cannot properly play its international role if it does not safeguard the competitiveness of its merchant fleet.”