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US Investor Pushes Cypriot Shipping

US billionaire investor Wilbur Ross said Cyprus can hit its target to have shipping lift its Gross Domestic Product 2 percent over the next three years.

The country needs to increase the share of the global fleet managed by companies on the island to 4.8 percent from 4 percent in order to push shipping’s contribution to GDP to about 9 percent.

He told the Bloomberg news agency that goal is “not such a heavy lift.” Ross owns shipping interests and serves as Vice Chairman of lender Bank of Cyprus.

Cyprus has structural and geographical advantages, “they just need to do more promotion,” he said by e-mail. Ross has specialized in restructuring failed companies and is a New Jersey native.

Revenue from ship management services alone rose to 464 million euros, equivalent to 5.4 percent of GDP, in the first half of 2015 from 421 million euros in the second half of 2014, according to the central bank.

“Cyprus has a strong registry like Malta, but it also has a strong resident industry,” Transport Minister Marios Demetriades said.

Cyprus aims to attract new business by strengthening regional offices in shipping centers such as New York, Rotterdam and Piraeus, he said.

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