However, while the fleet has grown, market conditions have squeezed the number of Greek companies, reveals a two-part annual survey on the state of Greek shipping, by Athens-based Petrofin Research.
The first part of the survey places the Greek fleet at 5,230 vessels up from 4,909 and tonnage in dwt terms at 361.93m a 7.25% increase on a year ago.
Ted Petropoulos, head of Petrofin Research, pointed out this “significant increase has occurred despite record scrapping by the Greeks in 2016”.
At the same time, “large Greek owners are becoming larger and younger as they are better able to take advantage of poor markets and low asset prices”, said Petropoulos, adding, “indeed, the very young fleets also continue to rise, a sign of commitment from Greek owners towards modern ships”.
“Greek owners have performed well compared to their rivals as Japan, China and Germany saw their annual rate of growth decline in 2016,” noted Petropoulos.
Average age of the fleet stands at 12.19, compared to 14.7 years in 2012. Using a 20,000 dwt cut-off, the average age of the fleet has fallen to 8.39 years, from 9.83 in 2013.
The dry bulk fleet of vessels over 20,000 dwt has gained 111 vessels, its age is down to 8.13 years, its tonnage is up by 7.2m dwt and is run by the same number of companies.
The large container fleet of vessels over 20,000 dwt has become marginally younger, 9.34 years old from 9.38 years in 2015, despite the fact that this sector traditionally shows a slow rate of renewal. In 2016 it has grown substantially and has gained a further 7.7m dwt to 25.3m dwt and the number
of vessels is up from 274 in 2015 to 381 in 2016. The companies that run these vessels are up one to 32.
The tanker fleet of vessels over 20,000 dwt shows a marked increase in dwt terms of 14.6m in the past 12 months to 131.6m dwt compared to the 2015 increase of just 220,751 dwt. The number of vessels is also significantly up by 43 to 851. This sector’s companies are down by three and age wise there
was a marginal drop to 9.35 years average from 9.49 years in 2015.
The most striking expansion is seen the LPG sector with this fleet almost doubling in size and its age dropping from 11.5 to 4.2 years. Petrofin comments: “This amazing development becomes even more marked when we observe the over 20,000 dwt LPG statistics: Vessels are up from 26 to 66, tonnage is up by 150% and the age is down from 13.69 years of age to 4.33.
“Further, the LNG fleet is showing an internal reshuffle, where the same number of vessels are now 12.5% bigger.”
The survey points out the investment in upgrading and expansion has been “massive” investment has not paid off, as most sectors remain fundamentally weak. However, it is too early to opine as to the overall future investment performance of Greek shipping and whether Greek owners shall be able to maintain the current growth momentum. Nevertheless, their track record has shown that Greek owners timed purchases and disposals well and remain true intuitive entrepreneurs, Petropoulos concluded.