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Cyprus shipping emerges competitive



Cyprus shipping emerges competitive

THE Cyprus shipping sector, broadly defined to include shipping, ship management and associated sectors, has had to cope both with the international economic crisis since 2007, and yet is coming through in good form and more competitive than ever. The reason for this strength and resilience is the diversified structure of the shipping fleet, the upgrading and modernisation of the merchant fleet, the approval of the tax regime for shipping by the European Union, the maintenance of an attractive corporate tax regime despite changes imposed by the European Union and IMF, the position of ship management as the most important subsector and the country’s status as a significant player in shipping while being an EU member state. Within the context of worldwide shipping, Cyprus has the tenth largest fleet with over 1,800 ships on the register, with gross tonnage exceeding 22 million. Moreover in 2011 the fleet had a majority of its tonnage (66 per cent) under 10 years old, reflecting the effort to improve standards and upgrade the Cyprus register. Though the emphasis has generally been on the size of the merchant fleet under the Cyprus flag, in terms of influence on international shipping and revenue for Cyprus it is ship management which is much more significant. There are around 60 ship management companies operating in Cyprus, and the Department of Merchant Shipping estimates that they manage about 2,000 ships. That is about 20 per cent of the worldwide ship management market. These ships are estimated to employ over 40,000 “seafarers”, over and above those on ships under the Cyprus flag.

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