Deputy Minister of Shipping Natasha Pilides said the impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic would be inevitable. But she has the hope that the industry will bounce back while continuing to serve global trade.
“I believe that the impact will be inevitable both on the Cypriot economy and on freight traffic through the financial results of shipping companies,” said Pilides, speaking to CNA.
Cargo shipping and ship management in Cyprus are estimated to generate about 7% of the island’s GDP.
Noting that shipping would continue, the deputy minister added that “we hope that we will overcome the crisis and recover.”
However, Pilides warned that “we cannot know the extent of the impact, since we cannot predict how long the crisis will last.”
Until now, there has been no isolation of Cypriot ships, but there have been some delays in the delivery and change of crew due to measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Shipment of goods continues,” said Pilides, noting that the deputy minister suspended physical control as part of preventive measures against the spread of the disease, but also with the goal of facilitating shipment.
In addition, Pilides said that shipping was one of the first industries affected after the outbreak of coronavirus, as world trade occurs mainly with Asian countries.
“Ships could not approach the ports, ships from different destinations could not be accepted, sailors were quarantined, crew changes and ship delivery could not be performed, because the shipyards suspended work,” she said.
The cruise sector will be affected the most and will have the most long-term impact compared to commercial shipping.