Greece Keeps the Lead as Largest Ship Owning Nation

Despite the many domestic and market challenges faced by the Hellenic ship owning community, Greece has continued to strengthen its position as the largest ship owning nation in recent years, currently controlling 18% of the world fleet.

According to Clarksons data, Greek owners continue to top the league table of ship owning nations with a 196m GT fleet and global market share of 16% (by GT), followed by Japan (13%), China (11%) and Germany (7%).

The country’s ship owners have a 333m dwt fleet on the water and a further 40m dwt on order.

In recent years this position has in fact been consolidated, with the Greek fleet growing by over 7% in 2015 – the most significant growth of all major owning nations. Aggregate growth since 2009 is even more significant; some 70% in tonnage terms.

The big loser in market share in recent years has been Germany, while China’s aggressive growth in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis has slowed, Clarksons says.

What is more, Athens/Piraeus also features as the largest owning cluster globally, with Tokyo, Hamburg, Singapore and Hong Kong/Shenzhen making up the top five.

Sector-wise, despite some owners diversifying into gas and container shipping, Greek owners have generally retained a focus on the “wet” and “dry” sectors.

Today, the Greek fleet is largely made up of bulkcarriers (47% by GT) and tankers (35%) with this combined share hovering around 85% for most of the past twenty years. There has been some development of the Greek owned containership fleet (up to an 11% share) and gas carriers (up to a 4% share) but this is still generally limited, Clarksons adds.

Greek owners have also retained their role as shipping’s leading asset players and today operate a fleet with a value of some USD 91 billion (actually third in the rankings behind the US due to the value weighting of the cruise fleet).

“In 2015, Greek owners were the number one buyers (followed by China) and number one sellers (followed by Japan and Germany) in the sale and purchase market. Greeks have not been quite so dominant in the newbuild market recently and in 2015, Greek owners (USD 6.9bn of orders) trailed Japan (USD 13.1bn) and China (USD 10.7bn) in the investment rankings,” Clarksons adds.

Hellenic shipping community will take the spotlight next week with the opening of the Posidonia, set to be the biggest yet, according to the organizers.

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