ATHENS – Largely untaxed, Greece’s dominant shipping industry, the world’s largest, continued to prosper during the COVID-19 pandemic as it had through a long-running economic and austerity crisis, oligarchs building their fleets with booming orders.
The annual investment by Greek-owned shipping companies has risen to the highest point in the last few decades, both in newbuilds and in second-hand vessels, amounting so far this year to at least $13 billion. By year-end this is expected to reach $14 billion and 450 ships, said Kathimerini.
VesselsValue data showed that up to the end-October that Greek shipowners had placed orders for 99 vessels with an estimated value of $6.3 billion while Allied Shipbroking reported that Greek shippers have also acquired 330 used vessels, investing $6.51 billion.
Most used ones are dry bulkers, followed by tankers, while tankers and containerships dominate the new orders, the report said, the Greek fleet continuing to outpace the rest of the world on the seas.
Seatrade Maritime reported that this year the Greek-controlled fleet of vessels over 1,000 gross tons reached an all-time high in terms of both gross tonnage (GT) and deadweight tonnage (DWT.)
At-mid year the fleet represented 7.1 percent of the world fleet in terms of ships, 13.3 percent in gross tonnage and 16 percent of DWT, Greek parent companies making up 26.5 percent of the world tanker fleet and 15 percent of the ore and bulk carrier fleet. The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) latest report said that the average age of the Greek-owned fleet at 9.54 years is lower than the average age of the world fleet’s 9.87 years.
Greek shipowners have been among the most active newbuilding contracting parties in recent years, the site said, adding that newbuilding orders for Greek interests account for 11 percent of global tonnage on order as Greeks invest in new and energy efficient ships, though shipyard backlogs are lengthening returning pricing power to the shipbuilders.
Some 201 ships had been sold by Greek companies for $3.04 billion for further trading and 29 of 1.75 million DWT have gone for recycling, 18 of them tankers.