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  • Writer's pictureNikos Doukas

Polys Hajioannou: We need a strong Registry to have a stronger voice in Europe

Polys Hajioannou, CEO, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Safe Bulkers, Inc.
Polys Hajioannou, CEO, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Safe Bulkers, Inc.

In today’s international shipping industry, Cyprus has successfully established itself as a leading global maritime centre, managed to attract key industry players and generate significant investment opportunities, contributing to the country’s economy and welfare. The strategic geographical location along with key strengths like the favorable tax regime, the solid and transparent regulatory and legal framework, the modern maritime infrastructures and facilities as well as the quality ship registry services and the advanced safety, security and environmental policies, are the main contributors behind the Cyprus’ development as a world class maritime center.

We are proud that, in a challenging global environment of increasing international competition, shifting trade patterns and new regulations, Cyprus has responded with great resilience and adaptability to several challenges and has succeeded in effectively enhancing and further expanding its position and its total output on the international playing field.

By leveraging its existing strengths and capitalizing on key opportunities, Cyprus has emerged to a modern shipping center, encompassing a substantial volume of shipowing and shipmanagement activities as well as a wide network of shipping-related and supportive services.

Committed to providing comprehensive and integrated ship registry and flag state services, Cyprus shipping has distinguished itself and further consolidated its position as a reputable and internationally recognized registry. The Cyprus flag is a quality European flag that has established itself as a reliable and reputable choice of flag among the leading registries worldwide. The Cyprus-flagged fleet ranks 3rd in Europe and eleventh globally. It is also worth to be mentioned that today the Cyprus flag is ranked 8th in the updated White List of the PARIS MOU.

Being the largest shipowner under the Cyprus Registry, with 42 out of 44 of our Company’s vessels flying the Cyprus flag, we, at Safe Bulkers, are convinced for the quality, the dynamism and the business friendliness of the island’s Registry compared to other competing registries and we are proud to be part of the Cyprus maritime cluster. I always refer that the major advantages of the Cyprus Registry and flag are the professional expertise, the high quality of administrative assistance and technical support and of course the investments in new and advancing technologies which enhance the speed and responsiveness of the Registry to a fast changing competitive business environment. Thanks to this, the Cyprus Registry is today significantly more robust and I remain confident that Cyprus shipping will continue to succeed in the years to come.

Cyprus is an attractive flag and can become stronger than it already is. I feel certain that by its dynamism and extroversion, Cyprus shipping can reach its full potential and get a larger share of the international shipping industry with the support of industry’s stakeholders. The Cyprus industry has done a tremendous job but there is a need for greater collaboration and joint initiatives within the Cyprus shipping community. We need to work together to step up our efforts towards further strengthening the voice of Cyprus both inside and outside Europe. I believe that there are greater opportunities for Cyprus to pursue and I would encourage shipowners and shipmanagement companies located in the island to register more vessels under the island’s Registry. This can have a significant impact in the competitiveness and overall attractiveness of Cyprus as a vibrant international maritime hub.

After all, there can be no doubt that Cyprus flag is a great choice and there are many good reasons for more shipping companies, especially large management companies stationed in Cyprus and major Greek shipowners, to flag their vessels and support the Cyprus Registry. As I mentioned before, we need a strong Registry to have a stronger voice in Europe. Our voice will not be enough if not backed up by more Cyprus-flagged ships.

Finally, developing a larger pool of highly qualified and skilled personnel is also a critical success factor in the efforts of Cyprus towards continual improvement and sustainable growth on a global scale. At Safe Bulkers, we understand that cultivating highly educated young talents equipped with the academic skills necessary to join the Cyprus’ workforce in the future, is both a strategic priority and a competitive advantage to further attract international shipping business to Cyprus and expand the country’s maritime cluster. This is why; we introduced in 2021 our annual scholarship program for studies in maritime fields. For the academic year 2023-2024, we announced the 3rd Annual Scholarship Program across an expanded spectrum of maritime fields. More information about our scholarship program is available on Safe Bulkers website (


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