In the vibrant waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cypriot shipping industry has long been a maritime powerhouse, both historically and in the modern era
As we embark on a journey to explore the latest developments within this dynamic sector, we find ourselves at the nexus of tradition and innovation, where long-standing seafaring traditions meet cutting-edge technology.
Beyond merely traversing oceans, Cypriot shipping has set its sights on charting a sustainable course into the future, setting an example for the global maritime community. In this article, we will delve into the latest advancements propelling Cyprus to the forefront of the shipping world, while also uncovering the best practices that are steering this industry towards a more environmentally conscious and sustainable horizon.
Developments in Cyprus’ shipping sector
Promoting Cyprus shipping in the UK
On September 11, 2023, Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis addressed an international audience during London’s International Shipping Week, highlighting Cyprus’ advantages as a hub for shipping companies.
The minister emphasised Cyprus’ strategic location at the crossroads of three continents, streamlined regulatory framework, tax incentives, high quality services, and cost-effective business environment.
Hadjimanolis identified four key factors that make Cyprus an attractive location for shipping companies. These include a favourable tax regime and incentive package, a safe fleet history, expedited services, and a proactive approach to challenges. She also detailed comprehensive financial incentives tailored to the shipping sector, supported by the competitive tonnage tax system.
Hadjimanolis noted that Cyprus has seen a significant increase in shipping companies based on the island, with approximately 400 companies, including 250 in the shipping sector.
Cyprus has also risen to the eighth position globally for fleet inspection memoranda, up from 13th in 2022. The Deputy Minister also praised Cyprus’ response to crises and its commitment to environmentally sustainable shipping. She concluded by expressing confidence in the island’s continued growth in the maritime industry.
At the same event, both the outgoing and incoming Secretaries-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) lauded Cyprus’ pivotal role in the global maritime community, its contributions to the IMO, and its high fleet standards. Additionally, they expressed strong confidence in Cyprus’ continued growth and contributions on national and global scales.
Cyprus shipping meets higher education
In a significant move aimed at further bolstering cooperation and knowledge sharing, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) officially entered into a collaborative agreement with the University of Cyprus on Friday, August 4, 2023.
The signing ceremony took place at the CSC’s headquarters in Limassol, where Themis Papadopoulos, President of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, and Tasos Christofides, Rector of the University of Cyprus, formalised the partnership by signing the Memorandum of Cooperation.
This agreement aims to solidify the collaboration between the two organisations in areas of mutual interest, with the overarching goal of enhancing their already outstanding cooperation.
Key aspects covered by the agreement include practical experiential learning and orientation, maritime training and education, research and development, information and knowledge exchange, as well as joint public relations activities.
These collaborative efforts are expected to benefit both the University of Cyprus and the Cyprus maritime sector.
The Cyprus Shipping Chamber and the University of Cyprus share a commitment to furthering the development and excellence of the maritime industry, and this partnership marks a significant step towards achieving these objectives.
Larnaca wants to train the next generation of seafarers
In a report first published on September 14, 2023, by daily newspaper Phileleftheros, it has come to light that for several years, Larnaca’s stakeholders have been advocating for the establishment of a university specialising in maritime studies.
Despite past commitments from the government and the positive intentions of the current administration, this aspiration has yet to materialise into concrete policy decisions, the report noted.
This delay in creating an academic institution dedicated to the maritime sector has, according to Zacharias Siokouros, CEO of the Cyprus Maritime and Marine Institute (CMMI), resulted in gaps and deficiencies within the maritime industry.
Siokouros stressed the necessity of establishing a university school for Maritime Sciences, Technology, and Sustainable Development, emphasising that Cyprus, as a maritime nation, should have invested in such a venture years ago.
He pointed out that while Cyprus does have some maritime-related programmes in both private and state universities, they primarily focus on financial and commercial aspects rather than the technical aspects of shipping, which are currently in high demand.
Furthermore, Siokouros elaborated that the lack of specialised education in maritime engineering contributes to a shortage of skilled professionals in this field, despite Cyprus’ strong maritime industry. He highlighted the need to address this issue and underlined that Cyprus should capitalise on its rich maritime potential.
The proposal for establishing the university school was submitted to President Nikos Christodoulides earlier in May, in collaboration with the Cyprus University of Technology (Tepak) and the CMMI. The aim, he explained, is to address the existing gaps and guide young individuals towards fields with significant growth prospects in the maritime sector.
Initially, the university school will offer postgraduate programmes in Maritime Technology and Marine Biology. The Maritime Technology programme will cater to graduates from various engineering fields, allowing them to specialise in maritime engineering.
The Marine Biology programme will produce professionals focusing on the marine environment. Tepak, meanwhile, will establish an undergraduate and postgraduate department in Sustainable Development to support the sector’s sustainable growth.
The location chosen for the university and the new CMMI facilities will be in the Mackenzie area in Larnaca. This strategic location will facilitate collaboration between the two institutions, allowing them to share resources and expertise.
Additionally, the CMMI will provide professional training to address the immediate needs of the maritime industry, including the retraining of over 2,000 unemployed or currently employed individuals in maritime-related fields.
The specific training areas will be announced in the near future following a comprehensive needs assessment in the private sector.
This initiative holds great promise for Cyprus, strengthening its position as a maritime hub and ensuring a steady supply of skilled professionals in the maritime sector, ultimately benefiting both the country and the international maritime community.
Sustainable shipping initiatives
Sustainable shipping practices are vital to reduce environmental impact, conserve marine ecosystems, and meet global climate goals, ensuring a cleaner, more efficient, and responsible maritime industry for the future.
In this context, on April 21, 2023, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber welcomed the official approval of the new law in the European Emissions Trading System for Shipping (EU ETS) by the European Parliament.
The law allocates funds from emissions trading rights to decarbonise shipping, supporting the EU’s green maritime transition. At least 20 million emission rights, equivalent to about €2 billion, will be used for research and innovation in cleaner shipping technologies.
The Chamber also noted that it supports the principle of “polluter pays” and emphasised the strategic role of shipping in Europe’s security, competitiveness, and autonomy, advocating for the inclusion of renewable non-biological origin fuels in regulations.
In addition, it committed to actively participating in EU efforts to accelerate shipping’s green transition while ensuring its competitiveness.
What is more, on July 11, 2023, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber welcomed decisions made at the 80th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC80) regarding the revised Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy for ships, aiming for greenhouse gas emissions neutrality by 2050.
The Chamber acknowledged the ambitious goals and emphasised the need for hard work and expert contributions to develop measures that achieve targets while remaining realistic and applicable, allowing the shipping industry to serve the global economy and progress.
Relatedly, it is worth exploring some of the ways in which shipping can become more sustainable, detailed by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The agency actively contributes to the development of sustainable shipping practices by promoting a number of actions. These include the following initiatives.
Batteries: Batteries are used for all-electric or hybrid ships, especially suitable for shortsea, coastal, and riverine routes. They reduce carbon emissions and underwater noise. Half of battery-powered ships are hybrid, and 18 per cent are all-electric, primarily seen in passenger ships and ferries. Batteries can be charged onboard or onshore with various methods, including renewable sources.
Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (Scrubbers): Scrubbers remove sulphur oxides (SOx) from ship exhausts, achieving up to 95 per cent SOx removal and reducing particulate matter (PM). They are wet or dry systems, with EU rules allowing their use as an alternative to low-sulphur fuels. As of June 2020, around 3,440 ships worldwide had scrubbers installed.
Ship Design: Improved ship design and operation help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) mandates energy efficiency standards, including the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) for all ships. EEDI requirements are being phased in, with increasing efficiency targets.
Future IMO Requirements: IMO is working on additional requirements like the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). EEXI measures a ship’s energy efficiency compared to a baseline, while CII determines annual reduction factors for operational carbon intensity. These measures aim to promote continuous improvement in ships’ energy efficiency.