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The history of shipping in Cyprus traces back hundreds of years. Its geographical position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa as well as its proximity to the Suez canal has historically favoured merchant shipping as an important industry for this European island state.

Merchant shipping has been actively developed by successive governments since the independence of Cyprus from British rule in 1960 and has since experienced sustained growth. Most business are contacted thorough Limassol Port and to a lesser extent Larnaca Port.

Cyprus has traditionally been a popular shipping centre and home to some of the leading names of the global shipping industry. Among the ship management companies established and operating, 87% are controlled by EU interests. These companies employ almost 40.000 seafarers out of whom 5.000 are EU nationals. According to the latest governmental estimates, the total fleet managed from Cyprus represents 25% of the world third–party ship management market.

It is estimated that approximately 5% of the world’s fleet and around 25% of global third-party shipmanagement activities are controlled from Cyprus. From the companies established in Cyprus, around 87% are controlled by EU interests, including Cypriot. The states’ accession to the European Union, in 2004, further boosted the reputation and overall image of the Cyprus flag and the infrastructure of Cyprus’ shipping in general.