The importance of the East Mediterranean region in world shipping continues to increase both as a result of enhanced trade but more so as a result of increased development of the countries and of increased port expansion in the region as well as the efforts to improve efficiency of operations. The interest of major shipping lines to choose hub ports in the region for their transhipment operations has stepped up demands for improvement of the infrastructure and for efficient service of ever larger ships, while increasing market concentration in terms of fewer, larger operators and more specialised ports, lead the Mediterranean ports to find more flexible and cost-efficient ways to serve their customers.
Cyprus provides a vivid example of the efforts made by Mediterranean countries, towards adapting their port systems to the demands of international shipping and trade. The ports of Lemesos and Larnaka, which are the island’s main gateways for shipping and trade, were extended three times since their construction in the mid 70’s. Thus from being small traditional break bulk handlers exclusively serving the island’s imports and exports, Cyprus ports were transformed into container and cruise ports acting as hubs for international trade, shipping and passenger services.
The accession of Cyprus into the European Union constitutes for our country and for the Cyprus Ports Authority a big challenge with lots of prospects and opportunities that require full readiness for their biggest possible exploitation. Prior to Cyprus accession to the European Union, and ever since, Cyprus Ports Authority has been concentrating its efforts on upgrading its services in terms of security, safety and efficiency. It has invested in security systems, it has increased the ports’ quays, the areas of loading and unloading and storage of cargo, its stacking areas for containers, thus creating excess capacity for the needs of a small country as is Cyprus, for serving international trade. Moreover, it is expanding its information technology applications and is in close cooperation with other Governmental Departments to resolve in the most efficient way issues on administrative procedures and on fast execution of work, which lead to reduction of the time that ships berth in our ports, resulting therefore to less costs for the shipowners.
One of the main objectives of the Cyprus Ports Authority is the establishment of Cyprus ports as transit centres and the maintenance and expansion of their role as centres of distribution of passengers and cruises as well as serving efficiently and effectively the Cypriot trade.
Specifically Cyprus Ports Authority plans and actions are aiming towards
- the full harmonisation with acquis communataire,
- the new prospects that are opened up and the favourable conditions that are shaped for Cyprus in the sector of serving the regional trade and shipping with its accession into the European Union,
- the harmonious coexistence of port activity with the environment and in the increased degree of care in the fields of health and safety,
- the development of mutual understanding between the Authority and its personnel,
- the development of mutual understanding and cooperation with our partners and the society in general.
The vision of the Cyprus Ports Authority is directly linked to the role the organization is called on to play in the immediate future. The development of the Authority in terms of infrastructure as well as in operational matters, in combination with positive outcomes which are clear, constitute our vision, which aims towards
“Establishing Cypriot ports the most modern, productive, competitive and safe in the Southeastern Mediterranean in serving Cypriot Trade, the development of Transhipment Trade, and Cruises. In becoming the most important regional European centre for trade and tourism.”