Greek shippers hold firm in stormy seas

Prospects for Greek shipping companies in the global sector remain favorable despite a slowing world economy and a growing supply of vessels, according to a report made public yesterday. The report, prepared by National Bank, pointed out that demand for dry-bulk carriers appears to be very resilient, while demand for basic commodities is increasing at a healthy rate. «Freight charges by dry-bulk carriers are expected to continue rising at an average annual rate of 9 percent… while charges for tankers are seen as reducing collectively by about 40 percent between 2009 and 2010 (but remaining, however, 160 percent higher than the averages of the last decade),» the report said. Greek shippers have embarked on a total investment program of 90 billion euros in recent years, reducing the average age of their vessels and upping their fleet capacity. They appear to be more flexible, as Greek shippers now can provide more dry-bulk and container vessels as opposed to tankers – the once traditional ship type, said the report. The sector’s contribution to the Greek economy’s growth rate is expected to be 0.2 percentage points annually over the next three years.