ECONOMY

Greek shipping companies are eyeing Cyprus as a safer harbor

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A number of Greek shipowners have in recent days been examining the option of setting up subsidiaries in Cyprus, in an effort to shield themselves from a further heightening of the financial and banking crisis in Greece.

The director general of the Cypriot Shipping Chamber, Thomas Kazakos, said that a small number of Greek shippers have contacted Cypriot authorities for information on the procedures required and the tax system on the island.

Kazakos also confirmed in statements to Cypriot media that there has been quite a bit of activity in recent days by Greek companies whose officials are contacting Cypriot shipping service companies to ask about the tax status and other requirements for a shipping firm to operate in Cyprus.

Besides the current uncertainty in Greece, it is reported that some shippers are even considering emigrating to Cyprus given the proposal by the country’s creditors for an increase in the rates that shipping companies are taxed in Greece.

Already 40 percent of the ships bearing the Cypriot flag are Greek-owned, while a number of German companies have also chosen to enter the Cypriot register since the 1980s. Cyprus controls 4 percent of the global fleet, while Greeks control 16 percent.