Greek tanker owners sail ahead globally

Greek shipowners control the biggest share of the world’s tanker and liquefied gas carrier fleet in terms of capacity, which has made Greek shipping the global leader in fuel transport, according to data by Intertanko, the international tanker-owners association. The data show that the number of Greek-owned vessels has increased by 50 percent over the past decade, while the global fleet expanded by just 9 percent. The same figures show that until 2008 the largest shipyards in the Far East will be materializing orders for new ships by Greek shipowners and managers, who are undertaking a massive modernization of their fleets taking advantage of the current uptrend in the shipping market. Greek tanker owners appear to control 28 percent of the international independent fleet in terms of capacity, having also improved their quality as the market requires. Consequently, charterers of multinational and other oil companies are showing their preference for the Greek-owned fleet, which experts consider crucial for Greece’s effort to consolidate itself as an important power in the fuel transport market. Experts also believe that Greek shipowners have recently begun dipping a toe into the liquefied gas market with orders for new tankers of this category. International shipping sources suggest that, given the swing toward the use of liquefied gas across the world, the Greeks’ entry in this domain is significant, for they are expected to play a leading role over the coming decade among those countries whose flags will control this type of vessel. The same sources also believe the tanker fleet can play a crucial role in the global fuel market in connection with the role of storage tankers. «Historically it has been proven that in major geopolitical crises, mainly in oil-producing regions, the tanker fleet has averted a deterioration as it contributed to balancing the market’s needs,» Greek Union of Shipowners (EEE) sources told Kathimerini. They added that «oil products’ quantities stored in tankers may be added to those produced and shipped every day, bringing the price lower thanks to the greater supply in barrels.» Still, Greek shipowners suggest that the government must exercise a flexible shipping policy so that more ships enter the national register, most of which will be tankers, turning Greece into a strong force in the international liquid fuel shipping market.

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