Greece is the largest ship-owning nation in the world, according to the latest annual report of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS).
The report says that Greek shipowners control the highest share, 21%, of the global merchant fleet in terms of deadweight tonnes (dwt).
It adds that during the last ten years the total capacity of the Greek merchant fleet, currently consisting of 5,520 ships, has grown by 50%.
“Greek shipping, with its long-standing know-how and collective dynamism, continues to successfully rise to the current challenges, maintaining our leading role, both in quality tonnage and market share, thus continuing to offer reliable, high-quality services to the international market,” said Melina Travlos, President of UGS.
In February 2022, Travlos became the first female president of UGS in its 106-year history. Travlos, who runs vehicle carrier owner and operator Neptune Lines as well as a dry bulk outfit, Neptune Dry Management, succeeded Theodore Veniamis, who had been at the helm for 13 years.
According to the report, Greek shipping is the main facilitator of the transport of essential goods accounting for (in terms of dwt):
• 31.27% of the world oil tanker fleet
• 25.32% of the world bulk carriers
• 22.65% of the world Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers
• 15.79% of the world chemical & product tankers
• 11.46% of the world Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) carriers
• 8.92% of the world containerships
Greek shipowners are mostly active in bulk/tramp shipping, the segment of the industry that specializes in the carrying of staples, such as grain and other agricultural products, oil and gas, iron ore, chemical products, coal, fertilizers and forest products.
An average Greek-owned vessel is almost twice as big as the average vessel at global level. In particular, during the previous decade, the average size of Greek-owned ships has significantly increased, standing today at 81,395 dwt, while the world average remains far below, at 45,337 dwt.
Greek shipowners invest in new-build vessels
Greek shipowners do not only utilize significant economies of scale but they continue to invest heavily in new-build vessels and equipment of high environmental performance.
They currently (April 2023) have 241 ships on order, corresponding to 19 million dwt. This represents a significant increase of 40% compared to the previous year’s order book (173 ships), attesting to the Greek shipping sector being the frontrunner also in fleet renewal.
It is estimated that more than 40% of oil tankers and almost one out of 6 LNG carriers being built today will be delivered to Greek σhipowners.
Moreover, the average age of the Greek-owned fleet, around 10 years, is lower than the global average of almost 11 years.
Shipping is one of the most productive pillars of the Greek economy through its economic, social and strategic contribution, the UGS report notes.
The overall impact of maritime transport on the Greek economy reaches 7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while it creates, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of jobs in Greece.
More importantly, the report adds, shipping provides large monetary inflows to the Greek economy. In 2022 inflows to the Greek Balance of Payments by sea transport surpassed €21 billion, the largest contribution recorded in the last 20 years.
Shipping has contributed over the centuries to the nation-building process in Greece. “In 2021 we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution. Recent studies have shown that without the ships, without its seafarers and shipowners the Revolution of 1821 would not have begun, let alone been won,” Travlos said.
“History demonstrates that from the creation of the Greek State and through to today, Greek shipping and its entrepreneurs decisively contribute to the development and prosperity of our homeland,” she added.