Greek shipowners look to Cyprus as crisis deepens

Greek shipowners have in recent days been examining the option of setting up subsidiaries in Cyprus, in an effort to shield themselves from a further heightening of the financial and banking crisis in Greece.

The director general of the Cypriot Shipping Chamber, Thomas Kazakos, said a number of Greek shippers have contacted Cypriot authorities for information on the procedures required and the tax system on the island.

“We provide the information and the choice is theirs,” Kazakos told the Cyprus News Agency.

Kazakos also confirmed in statements to Cypriot media that there has been quite a bit of activity in recent days by Greek companies whose officials are contacting Cypriot shipping service companies to ask about the tax status and other requirements for a shipping firm to operate in Cyprus.

“Cyprus’ shipping infrastructure, meaning the tax and management system that have to do with shipping, is something Greek ship owners consider an attractive, competitive, law abiding and transparent system,” said Kazakos.

Besides the current uncertainty in Greece, it is reported some shippers are even considering emigrating to Cyprus given the proposal led by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that tax rates on Greek based shipping companies be reviewed and increased.

Some 40% of the ships flying the Cypriot flag are Greek-owned. Cyprus is the third European flag behind Malta and Greece and with some 19million gross registered tonnage.

Cyprus controls 4% of the global fleet while some 87% of companies on the island are controlled by European Union interests.

Limassol is the home of some 130 ship management companies conducting international activities from the island.



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