Clarkson Research profiles scale of Greek shipping market ahead of Posidonia


With the shipping community gathering again for the biennial Posidonia event, in its latest weekly Analysis, Clarksons Research profiles the position of the Greek market and the pivotal role it continues to play in global shipping (16% / 18%) of global tonnage by gt /dwt, with the following comment by Steve Gordon, Managing Director.

Greek shipping companies retain their remarkable collective scale, with 252m GT (ranked only behind China), 427m dwt (still ranked first) and $183bn of tonnage ‘on the water’. A long-term focus on bulkers (22% global fleet share, be-hind China) and tankers (market leaders, 23% share) has continued, with the volatility and asset play opportunities in these ‘tramp’ markets as attractive as ever. A successful strategic focus on gas has increased LNG global share to 21% (2013: ~3%) while container tonnage share has dropped marginally to 7% (due in part to increasing ‘liner owned’ fleet).
Exposure in less liquid or project-based markets is low (‘Others’ <2%). Having been under-represented two years ago (only 7% of the fleet on order, 20 year low), there has been increased newbuild investment (orderbook reaching $40bn and 49m dwt, still only 12% of fleet). Greeks remain the number one S&P player (involved in approx. a third of deals). The top 10 Greek companies (average 110 ships each) make up 8% of global fleet, with many achieving good cross sector diversification , with Angelicoussis Groipp. leading the way (approx. 27m dwt fleet). Across the Greek market we track 700+ companies with an average of 7 ships, a further diversity that illustrates the need for a flexible approach on green / fleet renewal. 80% of tonnage is privately owned, with the balance in stock-listed vehicles. A straw poll of reasons behind Greek success included: strong cash positions (certainly applies today!) and low leverage, intuitive timing across market cycles (most, if not all the time!), quick decision making, heritage and improved management of sometimes tricky generational change, a large ‘cluster’ of commercial & technical expertise, flexibility & adaptability. And while other clusters benefit from proximity to cargo, shipbuilding capacity, major liner companies and finance (albeit local banks are now more active), the Greek market achieves scale as the ultimate ‘cross trader’. As for all shipping clusters today, the energy transition poses ‘tricky’ decisions. Firstly, we estimate that approx. 50% of cargo moved by Greek companies is ‘energy’ (for comparison of 12.3bn t of global seaborne trade in 2023, only approx. 38% was ‘energy’). So weighing up energy security needs, the timing of the energy transition and growth potential across the gases will be important. And secondly on emissions, the Greek market has embraced ‘eco’ ships (34% of fleet tonnage) a younger fleet (11.7yrs vs 12.8 yrs (GT weighted)), the use of Energy Saving Technologies (fitted on 37% of tonnage) and performs well on CII (approx. 75% A-C vs approx. 65% globally). Adoption of alternative fuels is below trend (approx. 33% of orderbook vs approx. 50% globally, reflecting, in part, lower exposure in container / PCC). The optionality of alternative fuel ‘ready’ status is, however, on trend (17% of Greek orderbook tonnage). Leveraging its deep technical experience and a strong commercial focus will support the Greek market in its approach. Best wishes to our many friends, clients and partners in Greece and enjoy Posidonia!