Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis announced at the Cyprus International Business Association (CIBA) forum on Tuesday that the fleet of Cypriot-flagged ocean-going vessels has grown for the first time in two years.

This rebound comes after a period of decline fuelled by geopolitical tensions, notably the conflict in Ukraine and disruptions in global shipping caused by the Houthis, which have posed significant challenges to free navigation.

During her speech, Hadjimanolis emphasised that the resurgence in the sector aligns with the overarching goals set by the Nikos Christodoulides administration to continuously enhance and fortify the services provided by the Ministry of Shipping.

“We are very satisfied with the results,” she said, noting a significant 5.5 per cent growth in the fleet during the first half of the year and a 14 per cent increase in the number of companies registered under the tonnage system, now totalling 420.

Furthermore, Hadjimanolis outlined the proactive steps taken to boost the competitiveness of Cypriot shipping.

Among these steps, she noted, was the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Competitiveness and Quality Enhancement of the Cyprus Flag and the Advisory Committee on Competitiveness of the Cyprus Maritime Cluster.

These initiatives aim to perpetually advance the competitiveness of the Cypriot flag and the broader shipping industry.

Additionally, since last November, a One-Stop Shop has been operational, designed to streamline and enhance service quality for all shipping companies and related entities based in Cyprus.

Hadjimanolis also touched upon incentives aimed at environmental sustainability in shipping.

“Following a decision of the Council of Ministers, from January this year, the annual tonnage tax for ships registered in the Cypriot registry will be reduced by up to 30 per cent for each ship that exhibits substantial greenhouse gas reduction measures,” she explained.

She explained that this policy is part of a broader strategy to encourage shipowners to contribute to the decarbonisation of the sector.

What is more, the minister also addressed the critical challenges facing global shipping today, such as the adoption of green fuels, the integration of technology and autonomous shipping, alongside green finance.

“As a leading advocate of sustainable shipping, we believe that comprehensive and diversified measures are needed both at the international and regional levels to achieve our pollution reduction targets and ensure a sustainable future for the industry,” Hadjimanolis concluded.