Greek shipowners have placed orders for 85 new vessels in the past year, according to an encouraging report released today by the Union of Greek Shipowners.
These mavens of the shipping industry have invested more than $9 billion recently in both new and secondhand ships over the past year, in what is seen as part of a normal annual modernization of the merchant fleet in the country, which is the largest in the world.
As expected, Greece is still considered the preeminent shipping nation in the entire world in regard to the largest ownership of oceangoing merchant vessels per capita. With a total population of 10,423,054 people, or 0.16% of the global population, Greek shipowners control an estimated 20.67% of the global fleet capacity. Within the nations of the European Union, the numbers are even more impressive, representing 54.28% of capacity.
Greek media reports that the ship brokers “Golden Destiny” estimated that the total cost for the 85 new ships will amount to $5.5 billion. The total amount of monies expended on secondhand vessels came to $3.59 billion, for the purchase of 233 ships.
Last year, as part of its annual operations, Greek shipowners bought a total of 318 vessels and sold or scrapped 175, for a total of $2.55 billion in revenues.
The ships bought, along with those already in the fleet, amounted to more than twice their fleet’s capacity over the years 2007 to 2019.
The report said that in addition, the age of the Greek fleet is now somewhat younger than than the global average, with an average age of 9.17 versus the global average of 9.61 years. Perhaps more importantly, however, the energy efficiency of the ships is therefore enhanced as well.
Losing the battle for gross tonnage
However, in gross tonnage the Greek fleet compares less favorably than other nations, having shrunk by 5.7 million gross tons during the past year, according to Lloyd’s of London — meaning that Greek tonnage represents only one0fifth of the worldwide fleet as far as tonnage is concerned.
The venerable insurance firm stated in the report that a new initiative on the part of the Greek government could help stem and reverse this unfortunate trend. The legislation from last summer allowing low-ranked crews to man ships via international contracts with unions will perhaps allow Greece to recover some competitiveness on the global front, according to Lloyd’s.
The nation of China was noted in the report for its particular aggression in buying merchant ships, with the purchase of 179 secondhand ships and the construction of several new vessels.