ECONOMY

Orders for ships still strong

Greek shipowners charted a course against the current of the international crisis, ordering a relatively high number of new and used vessels last year and despite the considerable reduction in funding to shipping by major banks. According to data released by Clarksons shipbroking company, Greek shipowners ordered 35 newly built ships, consisting of 16 dry-bulk carriers, 17 tankers and two passenger carriers. However in 2008 the number of new orders had reached 204 vessels. Greek interests also spent over $3.16 billion for the acquisition of 164 used ships, while the Chinese spent less ($2.79 billion) to buy a greater number of used vessels (204). Norwegian and Turkish shipowners followed with $650 million and $250 million euros spent, respectively. The most active Greek shippers in 2009, regarding the ordering of new vessels, were the Tsakos Group, Evangelos Marinakis’s Capital Ship Management and Dimitris Prokopiou’s Centrofin. The Tsakos Group ordered four tankers (two Suezmax and two Panamax vessels), while Capital Ship Management ordered five Handysize dry bulkers and Centrofin placed orders for three Suezmax tankers. The last recorded order came from Safe Bulkers, owned by Polys Haji-Ioannou, for two dry bulkers each with a capacity of 95,000 deadweight tons, placed with the Japanese shipyards of Imabari. Attica Group, owner by Marfin Investment Group, also ordered two passenger ships from Daewoo shipyards. In total, the number of Greek-owned ships under construction came to 866 at end-2009, with a total capacity of 76.6 million deadweight tons.