The Cyprus shipping industry has proved resilient amidst the coronavirus pandemic and the aim is for the sector to grow even further in the future, Deputy Minister for shipping Vassilis Demetriades has said.
Presenting the Deputy Ministry’s budget for 2021 to the parliamentary committee for finance and budgetary affairs, he said shipping has immense potential, noting that the approval of Cyprus’ tonnage tax system by the European Commission for the next ten years creates conditions of stability for the Cyprus shipping industry.
The Deputy Minister said that the Cyprus shipping’s contribution to the island’s GDP amounts to 7% based on generated income, while the Cyprus registry ranks 11th in the world and 3rd among the EU member-states. He added that 243 shipping companies are registered in the tonnage tax system with 55,000 seafarers working on Cypriot-flagged ships, of whom 40,000 remain active.
Demetriades furthermore said that the Ministry is to further improve the Cyprus shipping product with inter alia launching tax incentives for green shipping.
The Deputy Minister said that the 2021 budget is in surplus with targeted expenditure. Total expenditure amount to €14.5 million compared to €10,1 million in 2020, with the increase associated with the state aid for the sea connection with Greece which will resume next summer after 20 years. HE added that 33% of the total budget is allocated to the wages of the Ministry’s employees.
Furthermore, he said that the Ministry is charting a long-term strategy for a sustainable shipping industry, which will not be vulnerable to crisis.
Cyprus can build much more on Cypriot shipping which has proven resilient amidst the crisis, he said, adding the aim is a culture change so that the Cypriots can move closer to shipping.