BUSINESS

Shipping register continues to shrink

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Shipping

The considerable reduction in the number of vessels on the Greek register needs to be taken into account by the Greek administration, the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee noted in its annual report.

The drop is a fresh warning from the Greek shipping community about the continuous compromising of the competitiveness of the Greek register, that is practically maintained by just a few big shipowners mostly active in the tanker market; their incentives for carrying the Greek flag are mainly patriotic.

In a global environment where major international shipping hubs compete over the services with which they will attract more shipping companies, the Greek flag appears bound by perennial bureaucratic obstacles, market sources note.

The Greek flag has been flying in ever fewer ships in the last few years, as the Greek register now accounts for only 636 ships with 65.64 deadweight tons of total capacity, against 671 ships and with a total capacity of 68.26 million dwt last year.

In total the Greek-owned fleet, according to the annual report by the Committee, recorded a small reduction in ship numbers but an increase in capacity, based on March 2020 data: Greeks owned 3,938 ships with a capacity of 340.82 million deadweight tons and 199.69 gross tons. A year earlier they had owned 49 more ships but with a 1.27 million dwt and 1.52 million gt less. These numbers also incorporate 158 ships of various categories that are under construction and add up to 18.41 million dwt and 13.017 million gt.

Greek-controlled shipping companies account for 26.6% of the global tanker fleet and 14.7% of the world’s dry bulk carriers in terms of ship numbers. In total the Greek-owned fleet amounts to 7% of the global fleet in vessel numbers, 13.2% in gross tonnage and 15.6 percent in deadweight tonnage.

According to the data available, in the last year there has been an increase in the average age of the world’s fleet, from 13.7 years in 2018-2019 to 14.1 years in 2019-2020. Nevertheless, the average vessel owned by a Greek-controlled company has an age of just 11.7 years. When calculated in mean capacity terms, the average Greek-owned ship has an age of 9.8 years, against 10.8 for the global fleet.

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