Shipping industry robust because ignored by politicians


Shipping is the unsung hero of the Cyprus economy. The big success story that seeks no attention or publicity and demands no assistance from the state as it grows and flourishes. It is an object lesson of what could be achieved by capable and committed professionals when there is no interference in their work by politicians, state bureaucrats and trade unions as is the case in all other major sectors of the economy, the growth of which is stalled by these meddling, self-serving groups.

How the shipping sector has managed to evade their suffocating, often destructive, attention is an achievement in itself, supported by the results. Shipping, which accounts for 7 per cent of Cyprus’ GDP (about €1 billion), continued on its growth path through the recession years. Cyprus is now the biggest third-party ship management centre in the EU, its ship register is the third largest of the EU, it has the 11th largest fleet globally and 5 per cent of the world’s fleet is managed from Cyprus.

In numbers, close to 1,700 ships with a gross tonnage of 23.1 million are registered under the Cyprus flag and 2,500 ocean-going vessels with a gross tonnage of 56 million are managed and monitored by Cyprus-based ship management companies. Shipping companies, which are concentrated in Limassol, employ some 4,500 people onshore while 55,000 seafarers serve on board Cyprus-managed ships.
The Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC), made up of representatives of the industry, and the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS), which is under the authority of the Ministry of Transport, operate in close co-operation. The DMS, in stark contrast to most other government departments that apply the brakes on businesses through their bureaucratic procedures, offers 24/7 support to shipping companies, promptly reacting to emergencies.