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Greek fleet shrinks for the first time since 2018

Photo: Dimitri Houtteman - Unsplash Greek flag flying
The Greek controlled fleet decreased in number of vessels, DWT and GT in the 12 months to March 2023 for its biggest decline since 2008 as owners move to renew their fleets.

The last time the fleet contracted was in 2018.

According to statistical data provided in the 36th annual survey conducted by the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) the decrease is an insignificant change to the overall Greek-controlled fleet.

As of March 1, Greek interests controlled 4,113 vessels of over 1,000gt, for a total just short of 350m dwt and 204.7m gt. Compared with 2022 this is a decrease of 27 vessels, 5.38m dwt including 194 vessels on order from shipyards, of just under 15.1m dwt and 12.465m gt. The fleet today is still 15.5m dwt more than in 2018.

According to the data provided by S&P Market Intelligence, the fleet registered under the Greek flag has also decreased and now comprises 499 ships, of 31.39m gt and 53.2m dwt down from the previous year’s 570 ships, of 35.6m gt and 59.6m dwt.

The Greek-controlled fleet is registered under some 32 flags led by Liberia and the Marshall Islands. In the 12 months, Liberia gained 66 ships, Marshall Islands 57 and Panama 21 ships. On the other hand the Maltese, Singaporean and Hong Kong flags lost 98, eight and seven ships, respectively. Greek flag aside there were minor changes for all other flags

Overall, the Liberia and Marshall Island flags fly from 1,080 and 1,066 Greek-owned ships. In terms of dwt, Liberia is at 99.17m dwt representing 28.34% and Marshall Islands at 84m represents 24%, ahead of Malta’s 560 ships of 51m dwt some 14.56% of the total dwt, ahead of the Greek flag. Panama comes next with 327 ships of 20.5m dwt.

With regard to the order book, currently there are 43 oil tankers on order for Greek owners, three chemical and products tankers, 64 liquefied gas tankers, 27 ore & bulk carriers, 54 container ships, and three cargo vessels. What is notable is that Greek companies represent 24.61% of the world tanker fleet, 15.81% of the ore & bulk fleet and 10.45% of the liquified gas fleet.

Overall, the Greek-owned fleet is 6.7% of the world fleet in terms of ships, 13.1% in terms of gt and 15.4% in terms of dwt. The Greek registered fleet as a percentage of the world fleet, in terms of ships, gt, and dwt is 1%, 2.2% and 2.6% respectively. It should be noted, however, that for oil tankers the percentages are 6.3, 6.7 and 6.8% respectively.

The GSCC notes that “due to the unstable situation in Ukraine/Russia and related challenges and opportunities, as well as the forthcoming regulatory requirements, while the market conditions remained unstable, slight increases and decreases were noted in most of the categories of the Greek owned fleet”.

In particular, an increase in the Greek fleet as a percentage of world fleet was recorded for ore & bulk carriers and general cargo carriers. With the exception of chemical and product tankers and container ships, which increased slightly in terms of dwt, the remaining categories recorded a slight decrease or remained unchanged in terms of ships and dwt in relation to the corresponding world fleet type in 2022.

Average age of the Greek-controlled fleet in terms of ships increased slightly compared to the previous year, but continues to be below the world fleet average. Average age of the Greek controlled fleet in terms of ships stands at 12.6 years. In terms of gt and dwt, it is 10.8 and 10.9 years respectively, against 11.3 and 11.3 of the world fleet. Average age of the Greek-flag fleet increased slightly in ship numbers, gt and dwt, at 16.1, 9.5 and 9.3 years respectively against 14.2, 10 and 9.7 years in 2022.

Six major international classification societies have the majority of the Greek-controlled fleet on their books led by ClassNK: 802 ships (780 ships in 2022), ABS: 755 ships (808), Lloyd’s Register: 744 ships (773), BV: 719 ships (712), DNV: 592 ships (597) and RINA: 249 ships (237 ships in 2022).