ECONOMY

Greeks invest in dry-bulk market

Greek shipowners are maintaining their global lead in the sector, as in the year to end-October they have invested more than $6 billion in the purchase of newly built ships, mostly dry-bulk carriers. Data compiled by Golden Destiny shipbrokers showed that in the period from January to October 2010, there were 231 orders placed by Greek shipowners at shipyards in China and South Korea, against just 36 in the same period in 2009 – a considerable increase year-on-year. The investment activity of Greek shipowners in the purchase of used vessels has also been remarkable, as they have spent some $5.2 billion of a total of $22 billion invested in this market in the first 10 months of the year. Greeks now account for 17.2 percent of the total number of used ship transactions, followed by the Chinese with 11.7 percent. Golden Destiny estimates that 2010 will see Greek and foreign shipowners turn even more toward used ships, especially in the dry-bulk carrier domain, with the Greeks maintaining their lead over the Chinese. So why have the Greeks become so active this year? «A significant factor for the reactivation of Greek shippers in the market of new ships was the rebound of the shipping rates market concerning dry-bulkers, with the BDI rate index climbing over 4,000 points last month, up from 3,005 points in December 2009,» Golden Destiny stated in its report. «Furthermore, the attractive prices the shipyards are offering after the credit crisis of 2008 are strengthening the decisions of Greek shipowners to renew their fleet by building new ships. Building a ship costs now up to 50 percent less than the record prices in 2008,» the report adds.