Greek Shipowners Lead in Container Ship Charter Market, Overtaking Germany

greek merchant fleet

Greece has now eclipsed Germany as the leading nation in terms of owning chartered container ships," reports

Further shifts are anticipated, with Canada, Greece, the UK, China, and Japan-based owners of container ships having larger order books for chartered vessels compared to their German counterparts, as reported by Clarksons Research.

This transition comes amidst a reduction in the proportion of the total container ship capacity held by chartered vessels, declining from almost half a decade ago to approximately 40% today.

During this period, the portion of chartered ships owned by German entities has dwindled to 17%, representing 1.9 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units). This decline is starkly contrasted with the pre-financial crisis era when German KG (limited partnership) schemes fueled substantial investments in container ships, resulting in nearly 70% ownership.

The ascent of Greek shipowners has been notable, driven by consistent growth throughout the 2010s, notably spearheaded by Costamare and Danaos, which witnessed a doubling of their fleets between 2010 and 2017.

The decline in the charter market fleet's share, from 47% to 40% of the total fleet, has been primarily influenced by liner operators placing newbuilding orders directly.'

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