(http://www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Cyprus is an international maritime center, boasting strength, breadth and experience, attracting quality tonnage and increasing numbers of first-rate shipping companies from around the world.
The EU Commission, has approved the prolongation of Cyprus’ tonnage tax scheme, which applies to ship ownership, ship management and ship chartering activities. Cyprus was the first ever open registry to have a Tonnage Tax System (TTS) approved by the EU and this system has now been prolonged for the next ten years, following extensive negotiation and discussion between the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry and the European Commission. The system’s prolongation provides stability and certainty for current and future shipping companies flagged with the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry and/ or operating in Cyprus.
The Cyprus tonnage tax measure is a tax system whereby beneficiary companies can choose to be taxed on the basis of their net tonnage (tonnage tax) rather than on their actual profits from maritime transport activities. The tonnage tax is considered one of the key assets of the Cypriot shipping industry in efforts to attract more ships and companies to the Cyprus maritime cluster.
The prolongation of the system is expected to encourage ship registration in Europe, as well as the presence and growth of shipping companies and maritime operations in the EU. The system contributes to the competitiveness of the EU maritime transport sector while supporting Europe’s high environmental and safety standards.
Natasa Pilides, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, said: “To be recognized by the European Commission for our fair and transparent Tonnage Tax System, which has already been applicable for ten years and is now extended for another ten years, demonstrates our commitment to the sustainable growth of European Shipping and enables us to continue with our strategy for the sustainable growth of the sector in Cyprus and in Europe. We are committed to providing a stable, reliable and forward-thinking registry and maritime cluster that will appeal to all shipowners, managers, and charterers. We are confident this prolonged system will assist in increasing the tonnage of our fleet as well as the breadth and sophistication of our cluster.”
She continued: “Both the number of ships registered under the Cyprus Flag and the number of companies under the Cyprus Tonnage Tax System is growing steadily, and we are committed to continuing this trend. Our Tonnage Tax System is one of the many benefits of the Cyprus flag and maritime cluster and we would like to thank the European Commission for the excellent collaboration, as well as their dedication to maintaining competitive and high-quality standards within the EU.” She expressed her sincere appreciation and thanks to all collaborators from the Shipping Deputy Ministry, the Government Authorities and the Private sector who contributed to this success.
Ranking amongst the top international fleets, the Cyprus Flag averages seven years of age, encompassing over 1,000 oceangoing vessels with a total gross tonnage exceeding 24 million.
Shipping authorities in Cyprus were nervous over this issue which was negotiated between the state and private sector for almost two years before taken to Brussels. The agreement expires every 10 years, in accordance with regulations on state subsidies.
In addition to Cyprus, the Commission has also approved maritime transport support schemes in four other member states – Denmark, Estonia, Poland and Sweden.
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