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HANSA 05-2018

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Schifffahrt | Shipping

Schifffahrt | Shipping With Poseidon’s blessing Greek shipowners feel the shipping crisis and the consequences of increasing consolidation. But they perform much better than competitors in other countries, writes Krischan Förster Many Greek shipping companies ceased to exist like those of other seafaring nations in 2017: 41 owners had to give up, which corresponds to a decrease by 6.43%. This is contrasted by eleven start-ups, experts of Petrofin report in their most recent analysis. In total, there are still 597 shipping companies calling Greece their home. The changes in tonnage are even more distinct. As in the past 20 years, the Greek fleet continues to grow – despite the dwindling number of shipowners. Besides, the operational fleet is getting younger and younger, and the trend towards larger business units is a lasting one. For the first time, the smaller shipping companies, once the backbone of Greek shipping, hold less than 40% of the total number of ships. In contrast, the 50 largest Greek owners now control a good 67% of the fleet. It is even more revealing to look into fleet capacity. Accordingly, Greek managed ships have now a total tonnage of 387 mill. dwt compared to 362 mill. dwt in 2016. This corresponds to an increase of some 25 mill. dwt or 7%. By comparison, it was 328 mill. dwt in 2015, 303.5 mill. dwt in 2014 and only 281.5 mill. dwt in 2013. In terms of tonnage, 75 shipowners now each hold more than 1 mill. dwt and approach a combined share of 80% of the entire Greek fleet. According to Petrofin, the growth is mainly due to the inflow of young second-hand tonnage. Purchases on the S&P market increased by 30% from around 200 to 260 units last year, benefiting from the comparatively low price level and the low acquisition costs compared to newbuildings. The Greek order book, on the other hand, fell from 502 to 326 ships, as the owners preferred to buy second-hand rather than longerterm deliveries in anticipation of improved market conditions. Average vessel age is Global Fleet Nation 2017 2016 2015 2014 in % Greece 16,72% 16,36% 16,05% 15,41% 2,76% Japan 12,12% 12,78% 13,19% 13,46% -3,45% China 8,95% 8,87% 8,74% 9,47% -1,87% Germany 6,06% 6,65% 7,13% 7,56% -7,10% China / Hong Kong 5,07% 4,88% 4,63% 4,15% 6,89% Korea, Republic of 4,38% 4,40% 4,60% 4,60% -1,62% United States 3,63% 3,36% 3,45% 3,35% 2,70% United Kingdom 2,80% 2,88% 2,85% 2,73% 0,79% Bermuda 2,60% 2,70% 2,43% 2,24% 5,09% Norway 2,80% 2,69% 2,69% 2,55% 3,11% Taiwan 2,54% 2,58% 2,51% 2,87% -3,99% France 2,36% 2,35% 1,99% 1,68% 11,89% Denmark 1,97% 2,14% 2,12% 2,33% -5,48% Turkey 1,50% 1,56% 1,61% 1,71% -4,35% Italy 1,12% 1,27% 1,33% 1,44% -8,08% Belgium 1,27% 1,23% 1,21% 0,85% 14,26% India 1,23% 1,21% 1,23% 1,30% -1,94% Switzerland 1,28% 1,14% 1,04% 1,05% 6,72% Russia 1,19% 1,01% 1,06% 1,11% 2,24% now at 11,85 years compared to 23 years in 2005. Thus, the Greek fleet has strategically improved and gained a competitive edge without flooding the market with newbuildings, Petrofin analyzes. The recent buoyant activity on the S&P market, however, has led to a shift within the age segments, as comparatively few newbuildings were faced with numerous purchases of second-hand tonnage. As a result, the number of very young ships decreased. On the other hand, older ships of more than 30 years leave the Greek fleet. Their share fell from 24.5% in 2011 to only 6% in 2017. The trend towards larger and younger ships is continuing. »Every owner has recognized that small, older fleets have disadvantages compared to larger, newer fleets,« they say. Smaller owners would therefore bear the brunt of the bad markets and lack of credit, mak- 52 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 155. Jahrgang – 2018 – Nr. 5

Schifffahrt | Shipping 2.500 2.000 1.500 Greek Fleet – Number of Vessels 2.053 1.951 1.732 1.727 1.736 1.788 1.634 1.396 1.441 1.417 1.437 1.482 1.515 1.557 2.189 1.200 1.000 800 959 1.093 872 707 Orders and Deliveries number of vessls 1.000 500 677 758 689 732 745 739 760 782 751 754 823 816 817 857 158 165 148 188 182 220 239 207 204 243 254 269 297 1.015 414 406 600 400 200 351 125 577 360 149 145 155 266 293 262 542 220 402 177 514 148 557 502 195 181 326 156 0 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Bulker >10.000 dwt Container >10.000 dwt Tanker >10.000 dwt Orderbook Deliveries Number of Vessels Bulker >10,000 dwt Container >10,000 dwt Tanker >10,000 dwt 2003 1,396 158 677 2004 1,441 165 758 2005 1,417 148 689 2006 1,437 188 732 2007 1,482 182 745 2008 1,515 220 739 2009 1,634 239 760 2010 1,557 207 782 2011 1,732 204 751 2012 1,727 243 754 2013 1,736 254 823 2014 1,788 269 816 2015 1,951 297 817 2016 2,053 414 857 2017 2,189 406 1,015 ing their operations increasingly uneconomic. Economies of scale not only affected Greek shipping in terms of operating costs, savings on procurement and insurance, but also in ship financing. Greek owners played on the sale of bank ships, especially as German owners and banks were still under heavy pressure. En bloc sales of entire loan portfolios, however, were not done to the extent expected by the market. The financing of newbuildings is according to the data increasingly based on leasing offers from the Far East. Especially in the tanker segment and in the bulker market, private investment funds have come into play. On the stock exchanges, on the other hand, there were hardly any activities in the face of weak profit expectations and lasting impairment. With the brightening of nearly all markets, notably in dry bulk and LPG segments, but also in container shipping and product tankers, financing costs would become a key factor for this capital-intensive industry. It should be noted that leasing models as well as other alternative sources of capital are more expensive than the classic bank financing. An increase in U.S. interest rate levels is another complicating factor. In stable or even attractive markets, rising costs could probably be shouldered if the overall financial exposure remains moderate. Without further deterioration, Greek shipping is likely to continue to grow and the decline in the number of shipping companies will slow down. M Fleet’s dwt Year dwt age vessel dwt 2001 150,978,565 21,41 36,734 2002 169,331,748 20,58 40,302 2003 171,448,133 20,51 41,970 2004 184,228,917 20,12 44,046 2005 176,411,750 19,90 44,436 2006 194,486,455 19,14 46,707 2007 208,001,159 18,70 47,860 2008 222,368,331 18,40 48,926 2009 237,288,216 17,60 49,820 2010 242,802,092 16,40 52,160 2011 256,174,041 19,92 54,343 2012 263,635,420 14,70 57,600 2013 281,467,983 14,05 61,550 2014 303,579,176 13,25 64,495 2015 328,254,495 12,72 66,868 2016 361,934,047 12,18 69,203 2017 387,256,616 11,80 73,330 Source: Petrofin Research HANSA International Maritime Journal – 155. Jahrgang – 2018 – Nr. 5 53

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