SAFETY4SEA: In your view, what would be the biggest shipping challenge in the years to come with respect to sustainable shipping?
Natasa Pilides: Cyprus very much welcomes the adoption of the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of Green House Gases from Ships, agreed during the deliberations of IMO MEPC72. This strategy together with the already agreed lower sulphur content in marine fuels from 2020 will now necessitate a concentrated effort and an urgent need for further research and innovation to develop and implement technologies and fuels that will assist the industry to meet the emissions reductions targets set by the IMO. While this constitutes a challenge, it is also a great opportunity for the further development of the maritime industry in a way that safeguards sustainability and ensures an ongoing significant contribution to the global economy.
The goal of reducing pollution and creating a sustainable future for our planet comprises one of the main pillars of the Cyprus Shipping Policy
S4S: Which are the key drivers and barriers towards sustainable shipping?
N.P.: Shipping has been assigned a clear mandate, to deliver safe, secure, efficient and reliable transport of goods across the world, while minimizing pollution, maximizing energy efficiency and ensuring resource conservation. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, smart shipping and digitalization are currently the key drivers towards a sustainable future for the shipping industry. At the same time, a number of challenges must be overcome, such as the continuously increasing cyber risks and threats, piracy and the effective integration of new technologies within shipping operations.
S4S: What should be the top priorities for the shipping industry stakeholders towards a more sustainable future for the shipping industry?
N.P.: The shipping industry moves 90 per cent of cargoes and commodities to all corners of the world, at comparatively low cost when compared with the value of the goods being shipped. It delivers by far the world’s cleanest and least polluting service for the mass transport of cargoes. Nevertheless, the goal of reducing pollution and creating a sustainable future for our planet is key to our industry and comprises one of the main pillars of the Cyprus Shipping Policy.
The achievement of all environmental targets set by the IMO should be at the top of the priorities’ list of all stakeholders in the shipping industry. Other top priorities should include the improvement of safety and security on board ships and the ‘immunization’ of shipping against cyber risks.
S4S: How your organization may contribute towards sustainability?
N.P.: Cyprus fully endorses the necessity to promote the sustainable shipping and is committed to contribute to the improvement of safety, security and pollution prevention. The Shipping Deputy Ministry to the President of the Republic of Cyprus complies with all international instruments currently in force and sets up necessary implementation mechanisms in order to exercise total and effective control over our merchant fleet.
A testimony of our commitment to sustainable shipping is our active and constructive work as a member of the IMO, particularly in the area of protection of the environment, playing an important role in the on-going discussions for the adoption of measures that will contribute towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships and setting the regulatory framework for the reduction of harmful substances emitted by ships. Furthermore, we are in a continuous process of developing web-based applications in an effort to increase the efficiency of our services and at the same time reduce further our carbon footprint.
The Shipping Deputy Minister is a strong advocate of Blue Growth, which is an important pillar of our Maritime Policy including the encouragement of companies and start-ups operating in innovation related to the maritime industry, as well as the support of Maritime Academies and students selecting blue careers.
It is imperative for all maritime nations to allocate further funds to R&D in order to encourage innovation
S4S: If you could change one thing about the shipping industry, what would it be and why?
N.P.: Innovation is in my opinion the element holding the key of the future for shipping. It can lead to a safer and more environmentally friendly shipping, for the benefit of both the industry and the society. It is therefore imperative for all maritime nations to allocate further funds to research and development in order to encourage innovation and the integration of new products and services within the core and ancillary activities related to the maritime industry.
S4S: What’s your message to those who wish to pursue a career in shipping industry?
N.P.: As we often say, shipping is an industry of passion, knowledge and experience. For all those that do have an interest in the maritime industry, shipping offers a bright future and a wealth of options for highly rewarding careers. As a continuously evolving sector encompassing a range of activities and areas of expertise, shipping provides a wide range of exciting options for people from different backgrounds and with different skill-sets.
- The Cyprus Registry ranks eleventh among international fleets, with more than 1,000 ocean going vessels of a gross tonnage of almost 24 million.
- Cyprus is the largest third-party ship management centre in Europe and among the top 5 in the world. Around 3,250 vessels with a total net tonnage of 48 million are managed from Cyprus, representing more than 20% of the world’s third party managed fleet.
- Cyprus is a leading and comprehensive maritime centre, continuously expanding in size and spectrum of maritime services. It comprises not only by ship owners and ship managers, but also by charterers, marine insurance companies and adjusters, brokers, P&I clubs, marine equipment suppliers, telecommunications and security providers, bunkering services, financial services, marine academies and many more.
Natasa Pilides graduated from Oxford University with a first-class honours degree with distinction in Modern Languages and Literature (French and Italian). She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and a member of the Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC).
Natasa's work experience includes more than fifteen years mainly in managerial positions. She served as a Director and Regional Chief Operating Officer at Baker Tilly in South East Europe, heading the departments of Finance, Marketing, HR, Administration, Operations and IT for Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova. For 9 years she worked at PwC, in Cyprus, Milan and London in the areas of audit and tax consulting, providing services to multinational companies active in the fields of banking and finance, insurance, energy, construction, shipping and FMCG.
Natasa also has wide experience in professional training and delivering courses for ICAEW, ACCA and CIMA exams in the areas of audit, tax, corporate law, ethics, financial accounting and reporting. Natasa has more than 2 years of experience in training at BPP London, one of the leading professional studies organisations in London and internationally.
She served as the Director General of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency from April 2016 to February 2018, responsible for the design and implementation of the Organisation’s strategy in close collaboration with the Board of Directors and the Cyprus government.
Apart from her native language, Natasa is also fluent in English, French and Italian.
She has represented and promoted Cyprus as an investment destination abroad throughout her career, and has published various articles in international professional publications.