Today marks another big step up for maritime in the island nation of Cyprus. Effective March 1, shipping now has a position with the cabinet of the Cypriot government.
Natasa Pilides starts today as the deputy minister of shipping, a new position within government. Previously she had been director general of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency. Previously maritime had been controlled via the Department of Merchant Shipping.
Cyprus now ranks as the eleventh largest merchant fleet worldwide and the third largest fleet in the European Union.
Pilides commented: “We strongly believe that the transformation of the Department of Merchant Shipping to a Deputy Ministry of Shipping will increase the functionality, effectiveness, and flexibility of our public shipping administration, with a direct and immediate effect in the further development and expansion of both our flag and our maritime cluster.”
Cyprus has been upping its game on the international maritime scene of late. Last year it held a shipping week that was deemed a great success. The island is determined to make shipping a key plank of the local economy. It already accounts for 7% of GDP.
Pilides concluded: “The ultimate goal is to strengthen Cyprus shipping and its consolidation as an advanced, global shipping service centre. We will achieve this through flexibility and speed of decision-making, the enhancement and upgrading of state services provided, the promotion of the Cyprus flag, and the strengthening of the cooperation with the private stakeholders involved.”