ECONOMY

Greek-owned ships are fewer but larger; total capacity rising

Greek-owned shipping remains a leading global force, numbering 3,370 vessels with a total capacity of 180 million deadweight tons (dwt) – or 109 million gross tonnage (GT) – according to figures of the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee. This year, there have been 15 additions, increasing capacity by 8.5 million dwt (4.98 percent) – or gross tonnage by 5.1 million (4.93 percent). Most of this increase came under the Greek flag, which represents just a fraction of Greek-owned shipping. The capacity of Greek-flagged shipping rose by 5.6 million dwt, or 2.5 million GT, although the number of vessels decreased by 24 to 905 from last year. Total capacity now stands at 62 million dwt. Shipping agents take the view that the government ought to take this decrease in numbers seriously and urgently adopt measures for boosting the competitiveness of the national shipping register, with a view to attracting more vessels and creating jobs for Greek seamen, particularly officers. In the last joint session of the boards of the Union of Greek Shipowners (EEE) and the London-based Committee, there was particular emphasis on the need to strengthen the competitiveness of Greek-flagged shipping, improve training and for strong government support of the shipping industry’s positions in international forums. Despite the strongly competitive conditions prevailing in global shipping, Greek owners currently have on order 256 new vessels of various categories and types, totaling a capacity of 13.7 million GT. The number of Greek-owned shipping vessels has declined since 2000 but capacity has been on the rise in terms of both dwt and GT. In March 2000, Greek-owned vessels numbered 3,584, totaling a capacity of 150.9 million dwt and 90.2 million GT; in March 2001, the number had risen to 3,618, with a total capacity of 168.4 million dwt and 100.2 million GT. In March 2002, it numbered 3,480 vessels, totaling a capacity of 164.6 million dwt and 98.2 million GT. The number had fallen further by this time last year to 3,355, but capacity had risen to 171.6 million dwt and 103.8 million GT. Greek-owned shipping comes under 50 different flags other than the Greek; 603 are Maltese-flagged with a capacity of 30.7 million dwt, 544 bear the Panamanian standard with a total capacity of 23.3 million dwt and 502 are Cypriot-flagged, with a capacity of 23 million dwt.