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Resilient Greece Still World’s Leading Ship-owning Country

Greek Flag_seaGreece may be facing political and economic turbulence, but it continues to be the world’s leading ship-owning country, with Greek companies accounting for more than 16 percent of the world industry, according to the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2015, released last week.

The UNCTAD Review, reveals that Greek companies control a total of 4,017 ships with a capacity 279.4 million tons, strengthening their position compared to 2013 (at 15.5 percent) and followed by companies from Japan, China, Germany and Singapore.

At the same time, however, Greek companies failed in 2014 to bring in more ships to the Greek register. Indicatively, of the 4,017 vessels owned by Greek shipowners, only 796 sail under the Greek flag. Meanwhile, only 25.2 percent of the Greek-owned fleet is under the Greek register.

Together, the top five ship-owning countries control more than half of the world deadweight tonnage. Japan follows Greece with a share of 13.3 percent and a total of 3,986 ships at 230 million tons, China is third with a 9.1 percent share of world tonnage but with more vessels at 4,966, Germany is fourth with a 7.04 percent share and Singapore fifth with a share of 4.84 percent.

According to Union of Greek Shipowners data, the number of Greek-owned vessels increased by 134 in 2014, reaching 4,707, compared to 4,573 ships in 2013, and 3,970 in 2005 – a sign of significant growth in the last decade.

According to the UNCTAD Review, the world’s commercial fleet grew by 3.5 percent during the 12 months to January 1, 2015 – the lowest annual growth rate in over a decade. At the beginning of the year, the fleet totalled 89,464 vessels, with overall 1.75 million in deadweight tonnage.

Final findings indicate that it will be a challenge for policymakers to back technological advances and cost savings, and at the same time guarantee a sufficiently competitive environment so that cost savings are effectively passed on to the clients, ie importers and exporters.

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