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HANSA 06-2017

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Finanzierung | Financing Cyprus is prepared for a bright future Recent political developments on the issue of reunification of the island have reawakened the interest of the shipping community in the Cypriot cluster. Moreover, oil findings and developments in the exclusive economic zone suggest lucrative business Development of the registred fleet The cautious steps of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, imply a trustworthy framework of operations. Despite fierce criticism, the government has successfully concluded the privatization of the container terminal in Limassol. The agreement transfers responsibility for the container cargo operations to a consortium led by Germany’s Eurogate, and the general cargo and maritime operations to two consortiums led by Dubai Ports from January 2017 for 25 years. All the above positive developments, along with the successful recovery from the 2012–2013 financial crisis and the resulted bail-in, reassured the market of the capabilities and the potential of the Cypriot economy and maritime cluster. The interest of the Cypriot government in the development of the maritime cluster is reflected in the recent initiative of upgrading the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS). Due to constitutional limitation, DMS cannot be promoted to an independent ministry, but the plans are to have an independent deputy-minister, thus extending the administrative power of the existing mechanism and strengthen the voice of the maritime community in the Parliament and the Government. Currently, 1,032 relatively young seagoing vessels totaling 21.6 mill. GT are registered under the Cypriot flag as per SIN Clarkson’s and UNCTAD Maritime Transport Statistics. The registry of Cyprus is only 0.5 mill. GT lagging behind Japan, the last registry of the top ten cluster. The registry seems to be suffciently attractive for owners, as the national registries of major shipping nations, such as of Denmark, Sweden, South Korea, UK, etc. are ranked well below the Cypriot one. Moreover, the average age of 12.3 years is below the 18.0 years of the EU fleet and well below the 20.4 years of the world. The registry was dramatically expanded in the 1980s and 1990s with annual growth rates of 4.7% and 2.6% in terms of number of ships as well as 24.0% and 3.1% in GT respectively. In the last 20 years, gross tonnage fluctuated between 20 and 25 mill. The development of the registry in terms of deadweight has not been very successful in the last years. With a total DWT ranging from 30 to 35 mill., with an increase of bulk carriers under the registry but declining numbers in other ship types, the registry is rather stagnant. Apparently there is a trend Source: DMS HANSA series on global maritime hubs of losing tankers and gaining bulkers, containerships and other tonnage. In the last ten years, the registry is somehow stable with a slight annual reduction of 0.73% in number of ships and a growth of 1,37% in GT. This implies that the average ship size increased by 23% in absolute or 2.11% in annual terms. The average age of the fleet is estimated close to 10.7 years; however, this average value is not representative. Almost 45% of the fleet is less than four years old corresponding to the 65% of the larger vessels. In addition, 16% of the fleet is between five and nine years old and in total 87% of the larger ships are less than ten years old. A look at the registry data suggests a fleet of rather young and large ships. Statistics deteriorate due to many old and small ships, predominately engaged in coastal activities. Indeed, should one omit small ships older than 30 years, then the average age drops to eight years. A closer look at the registry demonstrates that bulkers, general cargo and MPP ships enjoy higher share Key market: Germany Germany seems to be a key market for Cypriot interests. Almost 14% of the registered fleet belongs to German interests, but in the last years this has declined to levels around 12%, as per UNCTAD data. Especially in the last two years the trend depicts merely the retreat of German interests in shipping. This development implies also a retreat from 14% in 2014 to 12% in 2016 of the German significance in the registry. However, the Cypriot registry is not deprived of positive and appealing attributes. It is well-reputed, positively assessed by the ICS and in the white lists of the Paris MOU and of the STCW-95. Taking into account 20 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 6

Finanzierung | Financing Country Age Number mill. GT Panama 16.6 8,265 227.9 Liberia 10.3 3,243 136.9 Marshall Is. 7.8 3,132 131.9 Hong Kong 9.5 2,550 103.6 Singapore 9.0 3,631 83.2 Malta 10.9 2,147 65.8 Bahamas 14.4 1,446 61.8 China P.R. 14.5 4,194 50.4 Greece 24.4 1,386 42.9 Japan 20.0 5,319 22.1 Total Top 10 14.1 35,313 926.4 Cyprus 12.3 1,032 21.6 Total 11-20 19.3 16,883 142.3 World total 20.4 92,265 1.244 World Registries Source: Clarkson’s Ships 2011–2016 2005–2016 Total Fleet 1.00 % -0.30 % Oil Tankers -11.40 % -7.80 % Bulk Carriers 6.00 % 0.80 % General Cargo -2.40 % -9.00 % Container ships -1.80 % 4.40 % Other types of ships 9.70 % 34.20 % 2010 2015 2016 Development of DWT Annual Growth Ship Managers 29 43 45 6.5 % Charterers 15 45 40 15.0 % Owners of foreign ships 9 48 73 34.9 % Total 53 136 158 16.9 % Companies taxed under the Tonnage Tax System Source: UNCTAD Source: DMS that Cyprus is a Member-State of the EU, there are many additional commercial benefits that can be considered when selecting the Cypriot flag. It seems that it is mainly an issue of marketing rather than of quality, as the registry is visible in the global markets, and there is substantial experience of the owners and in the market with this flag. The competitors of the Cypriot registry are mainly well-marketed non-EU flags (open registries), such as Panama, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malta and Bahamas. The registries of Malta and Marshall Islands are increasing their strength in terms of number of ships and million GT following an aggressive marketing policy, especially in high-value assets like tankers. It is highly possible for the Cypriot registry to carve a market share in the growing market; the market is evolving with almost 4.2% in terms of mill. GT and 1.9% in terms of number of ships, while the registry achieves only 1% in terms of GT and circa 0.5–1% in terms of number of ships. The above optimistic view, despite the stagnancy of the registry, is based on the Other 47% Wet 7% Breakdown (number of ships) Wet 15% Other 5% Dry 62% Conships 13% Conships 18% Breakdown (GT) Dry 33% confirmed attractiveness of the cluster. Limassol is not only a ship management centre, but also attracts owners and charterers. This development is a vote of confidence in the framework and potential of the Cypriot cluster. DMS reports 3,250 vessels managed in Cyprus, a total of 44 mill. NT, while almost 90% are not under the Cypriot registry. These foreign assets and interests are vested in Cypriot hands, so in case other clusters become less attractive in the future, Limassol will gain in importance and global visibility. Although not directly related to the positive development of the number of companies, the commercialization of the port of Limassol suggests a further boost for the cluster. As the Cyprus Shipping Chamber deems that the commercialization program of the port will provide enhanced operational autonomy at enterprise level and evolve a more results-oriented and accountable management, based on Source: DMS performance contracts. This will lead to prudent financial management and to the elimination of unnecessary red tape. It is believed that the further development of port facilities, especially of the cruise terminal, will positively impact the cluster and the national economy. Considering the experiences of other countries, the processes of »deregulation« and »commercialization« of most if not all port functions and services will be long yet fruitful, as many stakeholders are involved, but in the case of Cyprus, a consensus among all seems plausible. The development of the port depends also on the development of the energy sector and especially the hydrocarbons industry due to its direct relation with the transportation of natural gas and/or oil already found in the EEZ of Cyprus. The energy related business can trigger new projects ashore and in the coastal zone, such as the operation of crew transfer and supply vessels, etc. that will boost the local sector, as well as pure maritime projects, such as LNG transport by sea to European destinations. Both options will result in imports and enhancement of local technical, operational and commercial expertise that will further pollinate the maritime business already in place. So, is shipping the long quested Amalthea of the Cypriot economy? Will shipping provide not only the necessary connectivity to the European and Middle East regions, but also the uplift and advance to the economy the very same way Amalthea nourished Zeus till adolescence? The omens are favoring audacious decisions! Author: Orestis Schinas Hamburg School of Business Administration Head of Maritime Business School HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 6 21

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