Deputy Minister of Shipping: We have laid solid foundations for the future of shipping

We have laid solid foundations for the future of our shipping, said the Deputy Minister of Shipping

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Cyprus is now a quality shipping complex that has nothing to envy and makes us proud with its performance abroad, said Wednesday the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Vassilis Dimitriadis, in the five-year report of the Deputy Ministry, which he has headed since July 2020.

During the report, the Deputy Minister stated that a solid foundation has been laid for the future of shipping in our country, despite the challenges created by the two years of the pandemic and the one year of the war in Ukraine and the EU sanctions against of Russia, which negatively affected the Cypriot fleet.

Durable Cypriot registration

"Since the day the war started we have recorded losses of 3,7 million total tonnage, of which 2 million relate to the sanctions, while the other 1,7 million fall under the expected loss," he said, indicating that, at the same time, inflow of 2 million total tonnage, "with the Cypriot registry proving durable" and the total tonnage ranging to 23.8 million.

Vassilis Dimitriadis reminded that about a year and a half ago, the Deputy Ministry formed its vision for shipping, through the "SEA Change 2030" National Strategy, which includes 35 sustainable actions, of which 23 have already been implemented, while two more will be launched soon .

He also mentioned the creation of a one-stop-shipping-shop framework with the adoption of the legislative framework of the Limited Liability Shipping Company and the digitalization of all the services of the Deputy Ministry, which is in progress.

According to Mr. Dimitriadis, by 2024, all the services of the Deputy Ministry will be provided digitally, while he announced that, within the next few days, the mobile app (MobileApp) of the Deputy Ministry "CYSh1P", with the digital services to be accessible to all.

Trebling in the last decade of companies in the Special Tax System

The tripling, in the last decade, of the companies falling under the Special Tax System governing Cypriot shipping (97 companies in 2012 – 302 companies in 2022) is recorded as significant, with the largest increase observed in the last five years, with the creation of the Deputy Ministry. "These companies are not limited to ship management and ship ownership, but we have attracted telecommunications companies, specialized IT companies, ship insurance companies", he said and indicated that the ambition is for Cyprus to become a Center for Arbitration and Mediation of maritime disputes.

Among other things, Vassilis Dimitriadis spoke about the creation of conditions of stability and reliability for shipping companies operating or planning to operate in Cyprus or registering ships in the Cypriot registry with the re-approval of the tax regime governing Cypriot Shipping by the European Commission, as and providing further attractive incentives to enhance competitiveness.

"We are also cultivating a culture of research and innovation in shipping through a productive collaboration with the Research and Innovation Foundation (IDEK) on the basis of which we created the RISE Program (Research Innovation Shipping Environment), through which IDEK has already allocated more than of 10 million euros in research and innovative projects that support the green and digital transformation of shipping, while a call for submission of interest for strategic infrastructure programs in the shipping sector, amounting to 2.5 million euros, is underway," he added.

The leading presence of Cyprus in maritime events

In his account, the Deputy Minister underlined the leading presence of Cyprus in maritime events, in recent years, having signed a memorandum of cooperation with the UAE, "while 15 days ago a memorandum of cooperation was agreed with the United Kingdom which is expected to be signed before the end of its term of office of the present Government". In addition, he continued, a memorandum of cooperation with Panama and Sierra Leone is being processed, "while we have taken initiatives to strengthen security in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the protection of the marine environment, with the expansion of the Mediterranean memorandum".

He also reminded that Cyprus has been elected for a second consecutive term in the Council of the International Maritime Organization and announced that "on its own initiative, Cyprus has proposed, to the countries of the Commonwealth, an agenda for the oceans and it is expected, within 2023, that we will host Commonwealth Ministerial Conference on Oceans Protection Matters'.

He also expressed the pride of Cypriot shipping for what it offered to seafarers in the two years of the pandemic, facilitating crew changes and the repatriation of more than 65 seafarers, successfully adopting a national vaccination coverage program for 40 seafarers and proposing a global vaccination program, which adopted by the International Labor Organization.

"With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we responded to the demands of the shipping community and made it possible for the affected seafarers, whether Ukrainian or Russian, to open bank accounts," he said, stressing that "with very hard negotiation, we managed to limit the cost of the sanctions in shipping, highlighting that sanctions must be effective, ensure equal competition and take into account the specificities of shipping".

Recently, he added, "we have secured the European Commission's commitment to support measures for European shipping, which are expected to be presented by the European Commission on February 5 and Cyprus is working to submit its own views."

The maritime passenger connection between Cyprus and Greece is an achievement

As one of the most obvious, for the wider society, achievements of the Deputy Ministry is the Cyprus-Greece Sea Passenger Connection, something that, as Mr. Dimitriadis said, "since last June, after 21 years, became possible", while he indicated that , around mid-February, announcements from the company are expected for the new season, which is estimated to start at the end of May.

"Beyond the Maritime Passenger Connection, we supported the coastal shipping sector, because we want our coastal ships to offer quality services, upgrading their vessels," he said, adding that 53 cases were supported with a total fund of around 650,000 euros.

Investment in the new generation is a priority

One of the priorities of the Deputy Ministry, he continued, was and is the investment in the new generation, while he presented the various campaigns that have been adopted, such as "Sea your horizon" with the online acquaintance of students with shipping and the "Sea" festival. which promotes the sea as a means of entertainment, activity and professional orientation. In addition, the Deputy Minister recalled, the "Let's DISCO" campaign was launched, through a guidance group of young scientists, who approach parents, children and teachers to highlight the multidimensional nature of shipping.

With reference to the Merchant Marine Academies, he continued, the Deputy Ministry gave subsidies of a total value of 1,36 million euros to 883 cadets and scholarships of 165,000 euros to 55 students of Maritime Academies, while a committee for the promotion of Maritime Studies and Professions was created, made up of the entire maritime industry, for to evaluate and make recommendations to the Academic Institutions for updating study programs, so that they meet the modern needs and challenges of the shipping industry.

The Deputy Minister also spoke about the initiatives taken with the aim of breaking down gender stereotypes in the shipping industry, through the appointment of ten women to the 16-member steering group and the introduction of the term "Womanning Shipping", which was also promoted at the International Maritime Organization. to join the international maritime terminology.

"As far as the Blue Economy is concerned, we have formulated the Maritime Spatial Planning of Cyprus, the cadastral register of the sea, with which we seek to develop the potential of our seas in a sustainable way, with its implementation, in about two months", said Mr. .Dimitriadis, expressing the belief that the momentum will be created for investments in our seas "whether they concern RES or other activities".

European Maritime Day 2026 in Limassol

He also reminded that "we managed for Cyprus to undertake the organization of the European Maritime Day in 2026, a great event, where the lights of all Europe will be in Limassol, which coincides with the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of Europe".

Vassilis Dimitriadis said that "the Deputy Ministry is an entity that recognizes the demands and meets the expectations of the shipping industry" and added that "a modern shipping administration must have a vision, promote sustainability, have a stable tax system, provide competitive motivation, a high level of safety framework, to be effective and efficient, to respond to crises, to be extroverted, to take preventive measures, to adapt, to have the know-how, to be responsible in the way of approaching issues and problems, but above all to he loves what he does."

"I believe that together with the staff of the Deputy Ministry there is love and appetite and I believe that Cyprus is now a quality shipping complex that has nothing else to envy and makes us proud with its performance abroad", concluded Vassilis Dimitriadis.

Source: KYPE