Although consolidation has been significant within the container shipping segment, the overall shipping market is still very fragmented, and the average shipping company only owns a few ships. Over time, key shipping nations have, however, emerged. Some have since lost importance due to shifts in global trade, but Greece has remained the world's foremost shipping nation.
More recently, China’s importance as a shipping nation has grown and Chinese shipowners now jointly control the world’s largest merchant fleet. The country also currently owns the second largest fleet of cargo carrying ships.
The focus of Chinese shipowners has been slightly different. They control a smaller share of tankers and gas carriers but a higher share of the general cargo and container fleets, with COSCO Shipping contributing to the higher share of the container fleet.
The entry of Chinese financial institutions into the leasing market has significantly contributed to the growth of the Chinese owned fleet in recent years, and five out of the 10 largest Chinese shipowners are leasing institutions. Combined, the ten largest shipowners control 41% of the Chinese owned fleet.
The ten largest Greek shipowners are all “traditional” shipowners. Unlike the top ten Chinese owners, the top ten list of Greek shipowners is not dominated by one large owner. Instead, there are seven owners with fleets larger than 10 million deadweight tonnes whereas only three Chinese shipowners have such large fleets.
Even though the Chinese fleet has fewer large owners, the order book held by all Chinese shipowners is 21% larger than the order book held by Greek owners.
Although Greek owners are often very active in the second-hand market, this could indicate that the Chinese fleet may grow faster than the Greeks’ fleets in the coming years.
For general guidance and information on cargo-related queries.
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