Cover Story: Chamber marks 30 years as ‘roving ambassador’ for Cyprus

The self-proclaimed ‘Voice of the Cyprus Shipping Industry’, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and its Director General, Thomas Kazakos (pictured), says he could not be more proud of the association which has allowed the local shipping industry to speak as one.

He told SMI: “Both at a national and international level, the Chamber, since its establishment, has become an influential body and ‘roving ambassador’ when policy decisions concerning shipping matters are taken by the Government or by other internationally recognised shipping bodies and organisations.

At a national level, Mr Kazakos said, the Chamber, had worked in close cooperation with the Shipping Deputy Minister to contribute to the promotion and enhancement of the Cyprus flag as a highly reputable ship registry and also plays an important role in national and international shipping affairs through its longstanding and active participation at various bodies including the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA).

“The Chamber passionately commits to enhance further its work and actions, ensuring that the Cyprus shipping industry remains sustainable and competitive for the benefit of its member companies, the Cyprus economy and for European and international shipping,” he said.

Mr Kazakos said the Cyprus maritime cluster constituted a powerful engine of economic growth and was a driver for innovation, providing a fertile business environment for companies – particularly SMEs. “The sophistication of the cluster creates the necessary preconditions for the implementation and operation of a stable framework of intra-regional business cooperation, which has proven over the years to attract new investments and common business activities, leading to Blue Growth and to the overall economic development of the Eastern Mediterranean region,” he said.

However, he added that uncertainties relating to geopolitics, remained an important challenge for Cyprus shipping: “We have all witnessed recently the ongoing and very important geopolitical developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider surrounding area.”

Mr Kazakos said the energy sector was providing prospects for further development of shipping, especially in the hydrocarbons industry due to its direct relation with the transportation of natural gas/and or oil to be found in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus. “Without a doubt, the further development of the shipping and energy sectors is a combination which may prove invaluable for the Cyprus economy.”

Commenting on the effectiveness of the Shipping Deputy Ministry, Mr Kazakos said it would strengthen the competitive advantages of Cyprus, in order to attract additional quality shipowning and shipping related companies, and to expand the Cyprus registry.

“The Chamber was also pleased to see that the promotion of the new taxation system abroad was intensified with the establishment of the Shipping Deputy Minister, in order to attract more ships to the Cyprus Register and shipping companies to Cyprus,” he said. “In cooperation with the private sector, the Deputy Ministry also worked to ensure a smooth notification process towards a successful prolongation of the approved taxation system within 2019.”

Mr Kazakos said this year’s Maritime Cyprus Conference, entitled ‘Sea Change’, is expected to attract around 1,000 shipping executives from around the world as well as high calibre speakers and panellists. Like the Chamber, it too is marking its 30th year and is the first to be organised by the Shipping Deputy Ministry.

It will include discussions on important and current issues such as trending shipping policies from international regulators, forecasting, financing and environmental matters, and will also feature a new interactive session, networking breaks and the Maritime Services Exhibition.