Greece’s merchant fleet has been ranked first in the world in terms of cargo carrying capacity and are one of the top five ship owners globally, according to the latest United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report.
According to the same report, Greece is followed by Japan, China, Germany and Singapore. Together the five countries hold a market share of 49.5 percent of DWT.
Greece is also third among the top five countries in terms of estimated commercial value of fleet after the US (96 billion dollars) and Japan. China and Norway follow.
The same report notes that Greek ship owners invested approximately 2.36 billion dollars in the first four months of the year, with a total of 115 vessels worth 1.379 billion dollars coming into Greek hands, 18 of which were tankers, 66 bulkers, 28 container ships, one LNG gas carrier and additional vessel.
According to the UNCTAD report, the global share of Greek-owned vessels in terms of dead weight came to 16.71 percent in January 2017 against 16.36 percent in the same month last year and 15.53 percent in 2009, demonstrating the sector’s strong potential for further growth.
In January 2017, Greece owned 4,199 vessels with a capacity of 308,836,933 dwt versus 4,136 ships with a total cargo carrying capacity of 293,087,231 dwt in January 2016.
At the same time, however, the number of Greek-flagged ships declined in January with the Greek shipping register decreasing in size. Sector insiders are citing increased bureaucracy for the drop.
According to the maritime transport review, the world fleet has been decelerating for the fifth year in a row. In the beginning of 2017 it had a commercial value of 829 billion dollars.
Meanwhile, the commercial shipping fleet grew by 3.15 percent in 2016, compared with 3.5 percent in 2015. South Korea, China and Japan lead the way with 91.8 percent of world gross tonnage in 2016. In regards to the number of vessels, China is at the top with 5,206 ships.
According to UNCTAD, factors that may hinder growth include China’s efforts to further expand its economy, internal demand, US trade policies, and uncertainty due to Brexit.