Cyprus is a renowned International Shipping Centre and home to some of the world’s leading names in the global shipping industry, such as the Italian MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, the German-owned Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and the Russian Unicom Management Services.

The maritime sector has historically been one of Cyprus’ most successful industries. Capitalising on its strategic location at the crossroads of busy sea trade routes and offering attractive legislative and operational shipping infrastructure, a solid and efficient tax framework and an excellent communications network, Cyprus has successfully built a diversified and robust maritime industry that accounts for over 7% of the country’s GDP (including auxiliary services). Currently more than 1,022 registered vessels with a 21 million gross tonnage are registered under the Cyprus flag making Cyprus the:

  • 10th largest merchant fleet in the world
  • 3rd largest merchant fleet in the EU
  • Top 3 Ship Management Centre globally
  • Largest third party Ship Management Centre within the EU

Cyprus has an EU-approved “Open Registry” regime, one of the only two ‘Open Registries’ in the EU, with a very wide and legally endorsed Tonnage Tax System (TTS), which was introduced with the Merchant Shipping Law in 2010 and covers the three main “maritime transport” activities, namely ship-owning, ship-management (crew and technical management) and chartering. The simplified Cyprus Tonnage Tax System represents  a compelling competitive advantage  and contributes significantly to the already strong position of the country in the global shipping world.

Owners of Cyprus flag ships fall automatically under the tonnage tax regime, whereas ship owners of foreign flag ships, charterers and ship managers may opt to be taxed under the tonnage tax system (TTS) under certain conditions.Over 150 ship-owning, ship-management, chartering and shipping related companies control a merchant fleet of 2,300 vessels with a 50 million gross tonnage, while employing approximately 4,500 employees and 55,000 seafarers. 

Cyprus maintains a wide range of competitive advantages through a high quality maritime cluster, offering efficient and quality services, including:

  • The latest EU-approved Tonnage Tax System (TTS) with no direct link to corporate tax
  • Competitive ship registration costs and fees
  • No crew/officer nationality restrictions
  • 28 Merchant Shipping Bilateral Agreements
  • Signatory to all international maritime conventions on safety, security and pollution prevention
  • Full protection for financiers and mortgagees
  • White List of Paris and Tokyo MoUs

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