Five reasons why Cyprus is a leading centre for international shipping

Five reasons why Cyprus is a leading centre for international shipping

Cyprus’ maritime sector has grown rapidly in the last several years and today it is one of the top locations for shipping companies. It is also ranked 11th in terms of global fleet size and has its own dedicated deputy minister of shipping, boosting business and sustainability of its operations further. Here are five examples of how Cyprus is evolving as a dynamic and competitive maritime location.

1. Cyprus has its own first dedicated deputy minister of shipping to the President 

Ms Natasa Pilides, deputy minister of shipping to the president

In 2018, Cyprus appointed its first deputy minister of shipping to the President. Ms Natasa Pilides is taking steps to boost business in Cyprus and is committed to providing a safe, efficient, and sustainable shipping industry for all. The purpose of a dedicated deputy minister of shipping is to expand the Cyprus Register of Ships and the Cyprus shipping cluster.

Ms Pilides, who is speaking at next week’s conference in Cyprus, explained to VPO Global, “As a maritime nation, Cyprus is committed to maintaining top quality standards in all its activities. We aim to proactively introduce and update policies, processes and procedures to ensure a world fleet that is safe, secure and environmentally friendly. Cyprus takes part in all discussions and initiatives of the IMO regarding environmental issues, safety, automation and digitisation, contributing positively to the Organization’s endeavours, while at the same time working very closely with the European Commission and the shipping industry to ensure appropriate solutions are adopted and duly implemented. Aiming to constructively contribute to the effort to reduce GHG from ships, Cyprus recently submitted a document to the IMO proposing certain actions which we will follow up with further suggestions. Cyprus is committed to continuously enhancing its contribution to the IMO and the EU while maintaining the open and constructive dialogue with the shipping industry, for greener, safer, smarter shipping.”

2. Is popular with shipowners and managers

Cyprus is the largest ship management location in the EU and within the top 5 globally. The Cyprus Registry has grown significantly in the last twenty years, with a merchant fleet over 20 million gross tonnes today. Cyprus is ranked 11th in terms of global fleet size and 3rd in the EU. Nearly 4 per cent of the world’s tonnage is registered under the Cypriot Flag.

Cyprus also offers competitive ship registration fees and low tonnage tax. Shippers can benefit from Cyprus’ no exchange control, enabling free movement of foreign currency, no income tax on payments of officers and crew, no capital gains tax on the sale of Cypriot vessels or their transfer, and no capital gains tax on the sale of shares in Cypriot ship owning companies.

In addition, Cyprus’ strategic location offers easy access to major destinations.

3. Is focussed on maritime technology training and education

Cyprus has a number of dedicated maritime institutes that promote research, technology, innovation, sustainability, and train and educate those employed in the maritime industry in these areas. Cyprus Maritime Academy boasts training in nautical science, marine engineering, and more. It is the first Maritime Academy in Cyprus.

The Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean (Mar.In.E.M.) is a Cyprus based non-profit organisation founded in 2010 to promote research, training, and technology. Cyprus also hosts a DNV GL Maritime Academy, while Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement has its own specialised maritime training centre in Limassol.

At the end of 2018, Columbia Shipmanagement announced a new performance optimisation control room to help optimise vessel performance by connecting technical, marine, crew, and commercial management department and functions. The control room is managed by Captain Pankaj Sharma, who explained that the new centre will centralise the company’s operations, putting them in a better position to deal with fast-changing scenarios and developments as they happen. The control room will be managed 24/7 by qualified personnel who will optimise vessel safety, crew rotation and training, performance (speed, consumption, delay, weather routing), disaster avoidance, maintenance (including preventative maintenance through sensor and camera technology), and contractual compliance.

Socrates Theodosiou, co-CEO, Tototheo Maritime and Mark O’Neil, president, Columbia Shipmanagement on announcing Columbia’s new control room in Cyprus late last year

4. Puts safety at the forefront

The Cyprus flag ranks number 17 on the white list of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding with 1,921 inspections between 2015-2017 and 44 detentions.  A large proportion of the ships registered with the Cyprus flag are managed by specialised ship management companies with expertise in the safety and maintenance of Cyprus as a reputable maritime centre. There is a close relationship between the Cyprus Government and the shipping community, which aims to ensure high levels of safety and security for shipping companies in Cyprus or registered with the Cyprus flag.

5. Excellent financial and legal centres in shipping

Cyprus has a good reputation as an international financial centre and a number of high quality law firms with expertise in maritime law, assisting shipowners with the registration of their vessels under the Cyprus flag. Cyprus’ maritime sector is being further boosted by the privatisation of the Limassol port, according to the transport ministry. There has also been an increase of Cypriot banks entering the ship finance market and fresh investment.

Next Thursday March 14, Digital Ship is hosting its Vessel Performance Optimisation forum in Cyprus. Ms Pilides will give the keynote, while representatives from Columbia Shipmanagement, Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC, SCF Management Services, and Mastermind Shipmanagement will also give presentations. Click here to find out more.