It gives me great pleasure to be here at the 6th Annual Capital Link Cyprus Shipping Forum. I sincerely thank the organisers for the invitation and for choosing Lemesos, the shipping capital of Cyprus, for this esteemed shipping event.
The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, would also like to thank all of you here today for your valuable contribution to the shipping industry. I assure you that our Government places shipping among its main priorities.
At the Shipping Deputy Ministry, our highest priority is providing top quality public services to the shipping industry. In fact, the expertise as well as the customer-orientated and proactive approach of maritime specialists in both the private and the public sector are the driving force of the Cyprus maritime cluster.
Cyprus has made significant progress to simplify all procedures, reduce bureaucracy and have a paperless maritime administration. This, in an effort to not only improve our environmental footprint but mainly to provide a more flexible, effective, efficient and customer-oriented service that will further increase the attractiveness of the Cyprus Registry and its relevant services.
In this direction the Shipping Deputy Ministry is creating a one-stop-shipping centre framework, through the digital transformation of the Shipping Deputy Ministry, which will optimize the Ministry’s business processes and maximize its operational efficiency. Moreover, the implementation of the Shipping Limited Liability Company Law enacted in October 2022 will improve the competitiveness of the Cyprus flag in international shipping, as well as simplify the procedures and operating regime of Cypriot shipping companies that own Cyprus ships.
Our actions are not just limited to the development of our Registry but extend to the further development of our shipping cluster. All our efforts aim to strengthen our role in the international shipping arena and to provide fruitful conditions for the sustainable growth of our shipping industry.
One of the main challenges that shipping is facing nowadays is meeting the emerging issues arising from the transition to a green and digital shipping. Cyprus is supporting the shipping industry to achieve its decarbonization goals, by providing green tax incentives to shipowners and operators, encouraging and supporting ships registered under the Cyprus registry to use alternative fuels such as biofuels and hydrogen. This, along with a unique set of competitive advantages has allowed Cyprus to grow and develop into a world-class maritime centre.
Despite the discriminatory and illegal Turkish restrictive measures against Cyprus shipping, the Cyprus Ship Register has developed into a large and important Registry with a strong voice and great displacement in the international shipping scene, playing a significant role in the decision-making processes whilst contributing effectively in making a positive difference in the global and European maritime policies.
The stable fiscal and business friendly environment, as well as the richness of expertise that Cyprus shipping offers, attracted a significant number of shipping companies in Cyprus. Over the last decade it has seen a remarkable increase in the number of companies registered under its tonnage tax system, from 95 to 320 at present.
At the same time, Cyprus has a large resident shipping industry with over 200 shipping companies based in Cyprus covering the full range of shipping activities from ship owning and ship management to telecommunications, IT, insurance, finance, bunkering, spare parts provision, ship repairs and maintenance and many other services.
A maritime nation like Cyprus must have a clear strategy for the future development of the shipping sector in order to ensure that Cyprus holds a leading role in the development of the global and European maritime agenda. Cyprus shipping has to be competitive, strong, resilient to crisis and proactive to challenges and new trends. We have an ambitious vision and clear objectives for Cyprus Shipping and are determined to turn this vision into sustainable actions in order to navigate positive change for Cyprus and global shipping.
I am sure that a holistic approach and turning challenges into opportunities is the right way forward. We will be doing our utmost to support and enhance the efforts, endeavours and objectives of our shipping industry.
We hope that steps taken to enhance competitiveness, to promote Cyprus shipping, to increase the extent and quality of maritime education and to encourage innovation, will contribute to our vision of growing our maritime cluster in both size and range of activities.
I welcome you once again to Lemesos and wish you a very fruitful and productive Forum. To those of you who have joined us from abroad, I wish you a wonderful stay here in Cyprus.
Thank you all.