Greek shipowners have returned to the top of the global shipping economy by controlling the transportation of 164 million tons, surpassing the Japanese.
According to a recent report (Clarksons), Greek shipowners have returned to the top of the global shipping economy by controlling the transportation of 164 million tons, surpassing the Japanese at 159.4 million tons. Some say that this can be attributed to the fact that the Japanese invested heavily during the past decade, which resulted in significant losses during the global financial crisis and crippled the industry's growth. On the other hand Greek shipping companies were much more conservative during the period of industry growth (pre-2008) and thus, has had less of a negative impact on them today.
Also of notable interest is that Greek shipowners have been very active in vessel acquisitions, investing more than $6.8 billion in Q1 2014. Newbuilding orders recorded an increase of 126 percent, compared with their activity in Q1 2013 when their invested capital was at approximately $3.5 billion, representing a 12 percent share of the total newbuilding activity. The investment in the secondhand market was at more than $3.3 billion with 131 vessel purchased. In Q1 2013 this figure was barely $1 billion. At the moment, the Greek shipping industry owns 4,984 vessels versus 8,537 operated by the Japanese and 6,427 by the Chinese.
Looking ahead through 2014, leading shipping companies around the world will continue to be more aggressive in the newbuilding market, with the purchases of secondhand vessels being significantly (37 percent) lower than the number of newbuilds. Analysts believe this because during Q1 2014, the invested capital for secondhand purchases is said to have been more than $10.5 billion, which funded the acquisition of 499 vessels. In comparison, the invested capital in the construction of 792 new orders exceeded $25 billion.
Chinese shipyards have maintained the global lead on the dry bulk newbuilding business with a 74 percent share. Korean shipbuilders appear to have the lead position for tankers, with a 45 percent share and the Japanese yards have significantly increased their market share in the construction of handysize and ultramax vessels.