Cyprus hails success of first year of Deputy Ministry of Shipping

Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister to the President, Natasa Pilides Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister to the President, Natasa Pilides

The Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) described 1 March as "an historic day" as it marked the first anniversary since the island’s stand-alone Deputy Ministry for Shipping was established.

“Since its inception, the government department of shipping has advanced significantly with the restructuring plan, aiming at making Cypriot maritime administration even more modern, efficient and flexible regarding the services it provides to shipping companies related to Cyprus,” said the Chamber.

Noting a study has made important suggestions for the restructuring the Ministry, the CSC said. "The next important step, is the preparation of a national shipping strategy aimed at providing services to existing shipping companies and attracting new ones" which will further reduce unemployment and strengthen the economy.

Stressing all should work together to achieve these goals, the CSC said: "The common goal of all stakeholders should be the continued and further development and improvement of Cyprus shipping, thus enabling us to respond to the ever-evolving demands of the world economy and international competition.”

Indeed, head of the year-old Ministry, Natasa Pilides, says a prime aim is to maintain a close liaison with all clients, both abroad and resident.

Since the birth of the Shipping Ministry, there has been a significant rise in companies joining the Cyprus tonnage tax system, says Pilides when explaining how important it is to keep in touch with clients who “provide useful feedback on their needs”.

“If people in Cyprus are happy, it really helps us with our image outside of Cyprus,” she says, adding “we are one of very few countries in the world which has successfully grown from registry to cluster".

She said: "We’ve tried to consistently improve our standard, now and for many years, being a high-quality, white flag.” She also maintains: "People at the Deputy Ministry are motivated not because of any personal gain, but because they really want to see the industry progress. We are all working for this common goal; and I think the industry itself, is also working towards that goal. It’s great that everybody is trying to develop the cluster.”

Read more: Cyprus Deputy Shipping Minister stresses quality and sophistication in growing maritime cluster

As part of this development Cyprus is set to introduce a "maritime specialisation direction in the curriculum of selected technical schools in the public sector, if possible by September, Pilides has revealed. Pilides said the Shipping and Education Ministries, are working on the project. 

Speaking on the 'It's All About Shipping' programme, she explained: “We are doing a lot of work to reverse seafarer reduction in Cyprus and we would love to see more Cypriot people getting involved in this profession. There will always be a great demand, even with automation.”

Pilides sees this as an opportunity for young people, noting how shipping is one of the most protected and coveted professions, because of the high standards required by ILO and the IMO saying that in this respect it is one of the best professions to choose.

Pilides said shipping is an industry of opportunities for the younger generation. “We are working very hard as a global community, not only as Cyprus, to make sure shipping remains sustainable", she said.

Further on seafarers, Pilides said they will soon be able to upload their CV’s to be matched with job openings, while digitalisation of the ministry’s records and an electronic ship registration process is be enhanced. Among other developments to present the industry, is a digital marketing campaign, as well as a promotional campaign through roadshows, conference participation and one-to-one meetings with important shipping companies and stakeholders in key countries.

Indeed, when asked: “Why Cyprus for shipping?” Pilides stressed the caliber of human talent available in Cyprus, saying "it is amazing, which is definitely a great asset", while the other thing about Cyprus, is that "the cluster is so united, everybody contributes and everybody feels part of the team".

Posted 08 March 2019

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David Glass

Greece Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime

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