Even though shipping is a global industry, ownership is fairly well concentrated in a relatively small number of major centres, says a research from Clarksons.
The 20 most popular city locations for shipowners graph is headed, perhaps unsurprisingly, by Athens, with a fleet of 4,043 vessels of 161.5m GT. This is equivalent to 14%, or one seventh, of the current world fleet. After Athens comes Tokyo, with 98.3m GT, and Hamburg with 70.5m GT. Singapore
and Hong Kong complete the top 5. Overall, nine of the top 20 cities are in Europe
, eight are in Asia and three are in the Americas
The top 20 cities account for a total fleet of 765.5m GT, almost two thirds of world capacity. The top 10 cities account for over half, and the top 5 almost 40%. Shipping is one of the most global of all industries, with mobile assets that can theoretically operate (almost) anywhere in the world. So why do ship-owners choose to locate themselves in a relatively small number of cities?
Many of the top locations are major ports or large cities in key trading nations, and would seem to be natural locations for ship-owners. However, not all of the cities are ports or major cargo destinations, or at least have not been for some time.
What these cities often have in common are well developed networks of owners, charterers, sources of finance and other service providers. These can act as magnets for suppliers and clients, which in turn attract competitors leading to the emergence of large shipping centres. Most of these cities have a presence across a range of vessel types, though in some cases specialisms emerge, notable examples being Hamburg (containerships) and Oslo (gas, offshore), while some are boosted by the presence of a major owner in a particular sector.