Led by Greek owners, the global fleet continued to grow in 2017, albeit at a slower rate than for most of the last decade.
The appetite for newbuildings is evident as we move into 2018, with Greek owners continuing to building on an impressive $4.7bn investment in projects in 2017.
Greek shipping, an extrovert activity by definition, has traditionally been a key driving force of the Greek economy, despite the challenges it has faced at both the international and the national level with shipping receipts essential for covering a large part of the country’s external financing needs, but the imposition of capital controls have had a major impact on shipping' contribution to the country's national coffers.
Within days of the launch of 2018, China Cosco Shipping launched a number of new projects to upgrade Piraeus to further strengthen the Greek port as Asia’s gateway to Eastern and Central Europe.
China and Greece have vowed to strengthen cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. This commitment was made during a visit to Athens by Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai.
Success of Cosco’s investment in Piraeus port has led to China’s macroeconomic management agency actively promoting new investments in western Attica, primarily in the industrial port of Elefsina, base of Greece’s second largest shipyard, an oil refinery and logistics centre.
Cosco-managed and owned Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has emerged as a "must stop" for any Chinese delegation considering an investment or business move in the Greece. And there are many.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) has confirmed Greek shipowners remain the dominant force in the global industry, topping operators overall based on fleet capacity, while heading the wet and dry categories, and rising to third among containership fleets.
Renewal of the Greek fleet continues at pace as cash rich owners continue to build ships and buy ships.
The Greek government has moved to have the country’s largest shipyard Hellenic Shipyards declared bankrupt. The insolvency proceedings were filed under the country's revised bankruptcy code, which foresees the rapid sale of assets and the withdrawal of old shares.