Andreas Papadopoulos has served as Chairman of the Cyprus Shipping Association since 2021, representing the owners/operators of chartered/liner vessels that call at the island’s ports and port establishments to provide services to trade, the economy, cruise/tourism, and the oil and gas sectors
The Cyprus Shipping Association (CSA) was established in 1945 to provide a professional forum for the shipping agents in Cyprus. In 1959, following its registration under the provision of the local Trade Unions Law, the association became the representative of the profession of the shipping agent in Cyprus. The members of the association are the leading and long-established agencies in the island.
“Our international affiliations include membership of the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA), the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA). At local level our members are representatives at the executive committees of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber of Commerce and Industry (C.C.C.I) and the Employers and Industrialists Federation of Cyprus (E.I.F.)
“The goals and vision of the Association are summarised here below:
The provision of high-quality services by the shipping agents and his strict adherence to high ethical standards promoted by the association
The protection of the professional rights of its members and the promotion of their common business interests
The originating and promoting of improvements in the ports of Cyprus and in the laws affecting the profession as well as the shipping and port industry of the island
The presentation, promotion and implementation of the views and opinions of the shipping agents of Cyprus
The promotion of the cruise and the oil and gas sectors
Last but not least the working towards enhancing the prosperity and growth of Cyprus as a maritime centre and a transhipment hub”
How does your organisation plan to serve the Cypriot shipping community, and what solutions/support do you offer to your shipping partners?
“As the spokesman for the shipping agents in Cyprus, the Cyprus Shipping Association plans and ensures that its voice is heard on issues affecting its members and contributes to the rectification of ongoing port and maritime issues affecting all private and public stakeholders. The association also acts as liaison, negotiator and representative for its members in their dealings with the government, the legislature, the Port Authorities, the Department of Customs, the Port Operators, the business community, the trade unions and all other interested parties. The association is regularly called to appear before competent parliamentary committees as one of the main representative bodies of the shipping industry in Cyprus, when maritime and shipping matters are considered at the House of Representatives.
“With the shipping agents being actively involved in the operation and marketing of the Cyprus Ports, the Cyprus Shipping Association plays an important role in port affairs, taking part in the formation of policies applied. The association maintains close links with other local and international professional bodies pursuing common objectives.
“The Cyprus Shipping Association further provides its members and partners with a platform for the exchange of professional experiences of common interest and acts as a centre for the collection, evaluation and distribution information on local and international developments relevant to the profession and the port industry in general. In a day and age of revolutionary changes and of enormous growth in competition, the association places increased emphasis on the upgrading of the skills of its members and their staff, the technological advancement of their operations and the strategic planning of their activities.”
What are the specialised requirements and needs of shipping companies?
“Shipping companies which are established and conducting their business in Cyprus would benefit from the creation of a specialised “One-Stop-Shipping-Centre”” at the Shipping Deputy Ministry. This procedure aims to deal with the special requirements/issues of the shipping industry, as well as to act promptly and effectively, independently of other government departments, to process fast the services it will undertake. At the level of our Shipping Deputy Ministry, the digitalisation and automation of all services provided will create a purely digital environment, shaping the one-stop-service framework, which can be funded through a specific project funded by the Recovery and Resilience Fund.
“Furthermore, the implementation of a Cyprus Shipping Company with Limited Liability could add significant value to our industry. The Cyprus Shipping Company with Limited Liability Law was unanimously approved by parliament in October 2022. This measure aims to improve the competitiveness of the Cyprus Flag internationally, as well as to simplify the procedures and the operating regime of the Cyprus shipping companies that are owners of Cyprus ships. As such, it constitutes a new specialised form of legal entity, more flexible, which is closely connected with the smooth operation of the Cyprus Registry, its further development and increase the attractiveness of using Cyprus Ship owning Companies. A number of important notifications must be issued pertaining to the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Law, and these are currently being finalised.
“Being originally introduced in 1987 and extended in 1997 against vessels under any flag sailing to Turkish ports directly from any port of the Republic of Cyprus or against ships related to Cyprus in terms of flag, ownership or management, the illegal Turkish embargo needs to be lifted, as it is an obstacle to trade between EU ports and Turkey, it distorts the application of the principle of free and fair competition in shipping, it increases the transportation costs and it undermines the economic development of the Euro-Mediterranean region and the development of our local port industry.
“There are tangible prospects of further development of Cyprus shipping & in extension European shipping and, of course, our local port industry and economy by lifting the illegal Turkish embargo on Cypriot owned/managed vessels or vessels which previously call at local ports, which Turkey has been imposing since 1987.”
What are some of the recent challenges the Cyprus Shipping Association has faced, and what are your plans to address these challenges?
“The most crucial challenge our members and our industry are facing is the current level of our port tariffs resulting from the formulae (the Indexation) that is utilised within the context of the privatisation of our ports.
“Due to the fact that Cyprus is a small island with limited local demand and heavily dependent on imported goods, shipping lines and owners/operators of tramp vessels require besides the fastest turnaround possible, competitive rates especially concerning the costs of berthing/unberthing-anchorage fees which constitute the marine charges and the repositioning and storage costs of empty containers.
“Regrettably due to the unjustified increments in the last five years, being in double digit territory during the last two and surpassing 20 per cent within last year only, our port rates have reached the point of being so uncompetitive to even consider the possibility attracting transshipment cargo such as containers or motor vehicles on a longer basis, whilst the aforesaid increments are significantly adding to the recent inflationary pressures faced locally due to external factors.
“Our Association is committed along with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce & Industry and other stakeholders, having made specific suggestions to alleviate this issue and assess potential solutions so that our port rates and future increments become fair and objective for our economy. By enabling the port operators to recover their actual administrative costs without the prevailing effect of indirect taxation by our government.
“Taking this opportunity, we hope that the competent Ministry of Transport under our newly elected government will take up the matter and endorse our suggestions, which do in fact constitute a necessary course of action for general the public’s interest.”
How do you see the future of shipping in Cyprus, and what role will your organisation play in the future, especially with increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements?
“Cyprus Shipping is a leading industry and has managed to maintain its competitiveness and its positive perspectives for further development even in times of adversity. We can see the success story continuing with the combined efforts and cooperation between all stakeholders of the shipping industry, public and private sector. It is crucial to continue working closely together and facilitate Shipping the means to progress in an innovative and sustainable manner to current and future challenges.
“With regards to recent ESG developments and more specifically the requirements under EU ETS “Fit for 55”, our association is closely monitoring and takes active part in discussions, so that our port and shipping industry is calibrated within the timeframes set to adapt within the aforesaid requirements set for vessels to commence surrendering maritime transport emissions allowances by 2025. Liaising with stakeholders for the creation of infrastructure at our ports to host cold ironing via ship-to-shore electrical connectivity, whilst container and cruise vessels are at berth.
“The ship agent representing and providing high quality husbandry to the vessel whilst she is at port, shall continue to play an active role in the implementation, monitoring and administration of newly established procedures including but not limited to: technological advancements onboard and on the quay, within the context of the goals set by the EU concerning climate change, digital transformation and the evolvement towards a greener economy.”