ECONOMY

Shipowners invest $2 billion in new vessels

Greek shipowners invested about $2 billion in new ship orders during the first three months of the year, according to data compiled by Golden Destiny shipbrokers.

In the January-March period, Greek shipowners appear to have signed orders for 29 new vessels with a total capacity of 2.18 million deadweight tons and totaling at least $1.07 billion. However, the Golden Destiny report suggests that the value of just over half of the contracts (15 out of 29) has not been publicized, but estimates put their total at about $900 million.

Dry-bulk carriers are still Greek shipowners? main demand, with 15 orders in the first three months of the year, but container ships are now in second place with 10 orders (totaling $503 million), sailing past tankers, which used to be in far greater demand in previous years.

During the whole of 2010, Greek shipowners placed orders for 250 new ships with a total capacity of 26.66 million deadweight tons and value of $7.6 billion, although the value of 105 contracts was not made known.

Dry-bulkers led demand in 2010 with 154 contracts and a total capacity of 13.69 million deadweight tons. Tankers followed with 68 orders adding up to 11.6 million dwt, while there were 21 orders for new container ships with a total capacity of 1.18 million dwt. There were also orders for five new liquefied petroleum gas carriers and for two passenger vessels.

Among the groups to have made orders during the year?s first quarter are Costamare of the Konstantakopoulos family, Tsakos Shipping