Deputy Ministry eager to continue green and digital transition efforts, engaged with EU on sanctions

With the implementation of the state’s action plan, combined with the quality services and incentives Cyprus offers, there is growing confidence that Cypriot shipping will maintain its resilience and competitiveness, Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanoli said on Friday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the minister noted that attracting new quality ships to the Cypriot registry and establishing more shipping companies on the island are key objectives.

Regarding the efforts to achieve the decarbonisation of the shipping industry by 2050, Hadjimanoli said that the goal is feasible and emphasised the importance of close cooperation between regulatory authorities and the private sector to meet the challenges ahead.

shipping minister hadjimanoli

Shipping Deputy Minister Marina Hadjimanoli

She also expressed optimism about the viability of the Cyprus-Greece maritime passenger connection, indicating that tickets for this season are already available.

“I am grateful to President Nikos Christodoulides for the honour of entrusting me with this role, which is important and vital for the national economy,” she said.

“The further improvement and development of Cypriot shipping is a primary goal of the Christodoulides administration. Our aim at the Deputy Ministry of Shipping is to ensure a competitive sector and lay solid foundations for a prosperous future,” she added.

As part of these efforts, she explained, the Deputy Ministry is set to complete the digitisation of its procedures and services by May 2024.

“Our immediate actions include a targeted action plan to attract new quality ships to the Cyprus Register and establish new companies in Cyprus,” Hadjimanoli noted.

Regarding her priorities, the Deputy Minister highlighted that “a targeted promotional action plan has already been prepared for 2023, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and developing Cypriot shipping.”

“The effort will be focused both on our existing customers in Cyprus and abroad by highlighting the seriousness and importance given to the sector by the Christodoulides administration,” Hadjimanoli stressed.

She also said that “ensuring the financial stability of companies that do business with Cyprus, is one of our main assets and we should applaud it, promote it and also strengthen it constantly”.

“We are optimistic that with the quality services and incentives we offer, together with the implementation of the promotional plan we have prepared for 2023, Cyprus shipping will continue to be resilient and competitive and will lead the way in international shipping events,” the minister added.

What is more, Hadjimanoli explained that “in recent years, the shipping industry has been facing many challenges, both at the European and global level”, noting that “undoubtedly, the green transition, decarbonisation and geopolitical developments are the current challenges which we are called to deal with in an effective way, so that our competitiveness is not affected”.

At the same time, she pointed out that “a necessary condition for success is the close cooperation of the regulatory authorities with the private sector for the formulation of practical and applicable solutions”.

The Deputy Minister noted that Cyprus treats the issue of decarbonisation of shipping as of utmost importance, recognizing that the marine environment and shipping are one of the most valuable resources and an integral part of the Cypriot economy.

“As one of the leading international shipping centres, we feel responsible to accelerate the transition of Cypriot shipping to a low-carbon industry”, she added.

In terms of the EU sanctions against Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, Hadjimanoli stated that the Deputy Ministry of Shipping had to improve its internal mechanisms for the related management of the necessary measures. She noted that this took place “immediately”.

“We swiftly took decisions and issued relevant directives, while the technocratic team of the maritime administration is constantly alert and works diligently, within EU frameworks, both in terms of discussion possible sanctions, as well as implementing them,” she said.

“Despite the sanctions, major players have put their trust in the Cypriot registry, such as Royal Caribbean, which has registered one of its largest cruise ships, and, in the coming months, plans to open an office in Limassol,” she added.

She went on to say that the number of shipping companies based on the island increased from 273 in 2021, to 302 in 2022.

“Despite the challenges, we are proud of Cypriot shipping. Despite the adversities, the Cypriot registry has shown resilience and remains the EU’s third largest fleet and eleventh globally”, she said.

“Cyprus is one of the few shipping centres worldwide, which combines an international registry of recognised prestige and quality, as well as a shipping complex with a wide range of shipping and related services, management, fueling, technology, shipping agents and many other related services,” she concluded.