ECONOMY

Shipowners’ fleet expansion strategy carries on into 2007

Greek shipowners have set their course toward an even greater capacity for their fleet in 2007, having made investments of $1.05 billion for the purchase of 31 ships in January 2007 alone. In the same period the total investment on a global level reached $2.78 billion for the sale and acquisition of 152 vessels. During 2006, Greek shipowners spent $23.7 billion to strengthen their fleets, which today has a total capacity of 190 million gross tonnage (gt). According to data from the weekly report of Allied Shipbroking Inc, the transaction market share of Greek shipowners comes to 37.7 percent, with a preference in the dry-bulk market, as in the next few years the demand for shipping dry cargo is expected to rise significantly. Out of the 83 bulkers to have changed hands, 26 ended up in companies of Greek interests, with a total value of $921.7 million. Greek shipowners have also acquired five tankers that cost $133.1 million. Trailing the Greeks are the Koreans with investments of $290 million for 12 ships, the Norwegians with $220 million for 10 ships, the Germans with $174 million, the Indians with $123 million and the Chinese with $96.5 million. Data from the George Moundreas & Co shipbroking firm show that during 2006 Greek shipowners proceeded to orders for the construction of 322 ships of all types, to a total value of $16.64 billion. They consist of 221 tankers, 74 dry-bulkers, 15 container ships and 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. As far as the 221 tankers are concerned, they are 17 very large crude carriers (VLCCs), 33 suezmax vessels, 48 aframax, 18 panamax, 69 MP and 36 oil-product and chemicals carriers. The 74 bulk carriers consist of 13 capesize, 25 post-panamax, eight panamax, 25 supramax and three handies. Fleet structure Official data from the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping reveal that 32 percent of Greek-managed ships is on the Greek register, another 14 percent is on the register of Panama, 13 percent is on Malta’s register, 10 percent is on Cyprus’s and as much on Liberia’s, 7 percent bears the Bahamas flag, another 7 percent is on the Marshall Islands’ register and the remaining 7 percent on other registers. Greek-owned ships under EU flags account for 49.7 percent of the EU’s deadweight tonnage. Greeks manage 19.8 percent of the global tanker fleet and 23.6 percent of the global dry-bulk vessel fleet in dwt, not including ships under construction.