ECONOMY

Hundreds of new ships on order in China, South Korea

Hundreds of orders for new ships have been placed at Korean and Chinese shipyards by Greek-owned shipping companies, to be delivered over the next couple of years. Orders by Greek shippers to Korean shipyards number 372 vessels, while there are contracts for the building of 320 ships with a total capacity of 23.7 million tons at Chinese shipyards, according to Intermodal Shipbrokers. The 68 Greek-owned shipping firms involved are expecting delivery of the ships by 2012. Data regarding the deals with Chinese shipbuilders show 223 dry-bulk carriers with a capacity of 18.7 million tons, 78 tankers adding up to 4.1 million tons, 10 container ships that can carry 717,000 tons between them, while the rest are ships of other categories. Planning suggests that the Chinese shipyards will deliver 195 of those ships this year, another 104 next year and the remaining 21 in 2012. Notably, Greek shipowners are increasingly turning to more flexible ships with significant capacity, which is why they have been opting for the Kamsarmax category of dry-bulk carriers. These vessels have a greater shipping capacity than the Panamax category and reach up to 82,000 tons. Deliveries of most of these ships ordered by Greeks are scheduled for the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012, with prices ranging from $32 to $37.5 million. Separately, the TradeWinds newspaper reported that Theodoros Angelopoulos has agreed to sell five VLCC tankers (including one constructed this year) and two Suezmax vessels still under construction to General Maritime, owned by Greek-American Pete Georgiopoulos, for about $600 million.