News:Europe

Cash rich Greek shipowners have $15.2bn in newbuilds on order

Renewal of the Greek fleet continues at pace as cash rich owners continue to build ships and buy ships.

A survey by Naftiliaki Greek Shipping Review of the Greek orderbook has revealed 237 ships of some 23.8m dwt were on order for 59 Greek companies, at the beginning of October. Tanker orders led the way with 105 vessels. There were 64 bulk carriers, 12 LPGs, 18 LNGs, two liquid ethylene gas carriers, 21 container ships, 12 offshore supply vessels and three drilling rigs contracted.

In the first nine months of the year, 86 ships were contracted, lifting Greece back to the top of global newbuilding activity. Further, a number of multiple-ship contracts are at the letter of intent (LoI) stage including one for up to eight 82,000 dwt bulkers for Golden Union and one for two 208,000 dwt newcastlemaxes for Angelicoussis' interests. The research also found a number of deals reported as being done, were in fact not cemented.

With over $100bn invested in new ships over the past decade, the orderbook at the beginning of October was valued at $15.2bn, second to Japan’s $20.1bn and ahead of China’s $15bn.

Indeed, the lack of newbuilding finance has played into the hands of the cash rich and has seen a flurry of orders this year from Greece, ship valuation platform VesselsValue told the survey. Further, while the major, well known names still dominate, a number of less well known names are building ships.

Further, the Greek orderbook is perhaps one of the best examples of how the rate of ordering new ships has changed in recent years. At the beginning of October 2011, a similar review of the Greek orderbook showed some 124 companies had 481 ships of 44.4m dwt on order, with bulk carriers accounting for over half the orderbook, 277 vessels of 23m dwt. There were also 114 tanker of 16m dwt on order. The same month in 2013, found 83 Greek companies building 390 ships of 32m dwt with bulkers still leading the way (162 ships) but wet ships and gas carriers accounted for 170 ships in all – 96 tankers, 26 LPGs and 48 LNGs. Forty eight container ships were also on order.

The fleet renewal is not confined to new ships. Greek shipowners are also the most active players in the secondhand market adding near 260 vessels to their fleets so far this year, at an outlay of over $4bn. This investment is double the next biggest buyer China, 190 ships for just on $2bn.

At the same time, some 170 trading ships have been sold reaping near $2.2bn for their Greek sellers ahead of German owners who have been forced to retrench having also sold around 170 trading ships raising $2.1bn. Greek owners have also withdrawn more ships from a crowded marketplace than any other national group, scrapping 60 units of 3.5m dwt, ahead of Singapore-based owners who have scrapped around 40 ships of 1.34m dwt.

Posted 13 November 2017

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David Glass

Greece Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime

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