Denmark Now Operates World’s 5th Largest Merchant Fleet

Danish fleetIllustration. Source: Pxhere under CC0 license

Denmark has again improved its place on the list of the world’s largest ship operating nations, surpassing the United States to claim the fifth place.

Measured by the number of merchant ships operated by various countries, Danish shipping companies have landed in fifth place. The milestone comes just a year and a half after Denmark surpassed Germany on the sixth spot.

The list is spearheaded by Greece, whose fleet measures 300.4 million in total deadweight tonnage, followed by Singapore, China and Japan in the top four spots.

With 83.8 million dwt, Danish shipping companies exported DKK 188 billion (USD 28.4 billion) last year, making shipping one of the country’s largest export industries. Reaching fifth place on the list shows that the Danish shipping strategy has worked, according to Anne H. Steffensen, the CEO of Danish Shipowners’ Association.

“We have seen great growth in the ships operated by Danish shipping companies, and at the same time there are more ships flying the Danish flag than ever before,” Steffensen said.

“The next 5 to 10 years will be crucial in finding the way towards the CO2-neutral ship, which will be a condition for growth in shipping. The knowledge required must come through investment from the industry, targeted research, education and innovative start-ups.”

Denmark’s Business Minister Simon Kollerup reiterated that there must continue to be a strong focus on research and innovation in shipping, not least in terms of sustainability.

The International Maritime Organization has agreed on an objective that greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in 2050 must be reduced by at least 50 per cent compared to the level in 2008. Danish major Maersk has gone even further and has set a goal of being completely CO2 neutral in 2050.

Denmark is also making its register more attractive to shipowners by setting out to develop a digital register of shipping by the end of 2020.

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