From 9-11 October 2023 the internationally reputable Maritime Cyprus 2023 conference took place at the Parklane Resort & Spa in Limassol. Organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Shipping of the Republic of Cyprus, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber and the Cyprus Union of Shipowners, this year’s edition of the event was held under the theme Shipping in Action: An Agenda for Change. The conference was attended by more than 900 shipping professionals from around the world, coming from more than 35 countries. A delegation from the Polish Shipowners’ Association also participated in the event.
The Maritime Cyprus conference is one of the most important events in the calendar of international shipping industry. It is attended by those who decide on global maritime transport on a daily basis, including, among others, the IMO Secretary-General. The three-day proceedings address the most relevant issues related to the current and future functioning of shipowners and the global fleet.
The theme of this year’s Maritime Cyprus conference was dominated by shipowners’ problems arising from the energy transition facing the industry. Thus, the adoption of the IMO strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships was discussed, among other issues. Conference participants stressed the importance of developing a global set of rules on the issue of decarbonisation, particularly on the issue of fuel suppliers and the creation of a ‘fund and reward system’ to support the implementation of green fuels in shipping. Among conference participants, there was criticism of the inclusion of shipping in the EU ETS, recognising that by introducing the scheme economically “Europe is shooting itself in the foot”. It was suggested that the industry should focus on energy efficiency measures instead of impeding growth through restrictive policies. Participants in the discussion also pointed out that the focus should be on the availability of low-carbon fuels and their prices. It was also acknowledged that the concept of net zero energy consumption needs to be further defined and that this will be further addressed by the IMO. The role of seafarers in the energy transition was also highlighted. Global social, governmental and political factors currently influencing decarbonisation across all industries were pointed out, and a more realistic and pragmatic approach to the decarbonisation challenges facing shipping was called for.