Athens based, Financial Analyst John Nikolaou provides an insight into the recent market trends of the shipping industry:
Greek shipowners have returned to the top of the global shipping economy by controlling a gross tonnage of 164 million tons, overtaking the Japanese on 159.4 million tons. According to Clarksons, this global lead illustrates that Greeks operate much bigger ships because they own 4,984 vessels against 8,537 managed by the Japanese and 6,427 by the Chinese.
Japanese have invested huge funds during the past decade which resulted in significant losses during the crisis, while Greeks proved to be more conservative during the period of industry growth and had less negative impact on them.
In addition Greeks are seemed to be very active in vessel acquisitions as they have spent more than $6,8bn during Q1 2014. Newbuilding orders recorded 126% increase compared with their activity in Q1 2013 with their invested capital of more than $3,5bn, with 12% share of the total newbuilding activity from 9% in Q1 2013. The investments in secondhand market were more than $3,3bn for 131 vessel purchases, when during Q1 2013, were nearly $1bn.
In the global outlook, shipping companies continue to be more aggressive in the newbuilding market with purchasing trend for secondhand vessels being 37% lower than the newbuilding trend. During Q1 2014, the invested capital for secondhand purchases is estimated to be more than $10,5bn for the acquisition of 499 vessels with bulkers holding 56% share. The invested capital in the construction of newbuilding vessels exceeded the $25billion for 792 new orders. Bulk Carriers and tankers grabbed the lion's share of S&P activity with 73% of the total activity and the delivery of Höegh LNG’s PGN FSRU Lampung has brought the number of LNG carriers in the current fleet to the 400
Chinese yards maintain the global lead on dry bulk newbuilding business with 74% share and Korean appear in lead position for tankers with 45% share. Japanese yards have increased significantly their market share in the bulker segment with main activity in the construction of handysize and ultramax vessels and in the tanker segment with the construction of handysize vessels.