With the latest turn of the tide, Greek owners have placed themselves at the top with 210.1 million gross tons, representing the world’s largest fleet, according to Clarksons Research.
This change is the latest in a recent set of switches in the leadership of ownership of the global orderbook. Although the Japanese now own the world’s second largest fleet at 164.2 million gross tons, they account for the largest orderbook across all owner nationalities, with 488 ships of 28.2 million gross tons on order.
This year, the size of their orderbook has surpassed that of their Chinese counterparts, leaving Japanese owners on top of this particular pile.
Following the boom in ordering preceding the global economic downturn, the orderbook stood at its highest ever level with 416.6 million gross tons in October 2008. At this point in time it was Greek owners who accounted for the largest orderbook, ahead of the German owners in second place. Since then, things have largely gone downwards for the Greek orderbook.
By start of 2011, the Chinese owners’ orderbook was the world’s second largest and across the period 2012-15 it vied with the Greek orderbook for pole position before pulling ahead last year.
In December 2016, Japanese owners took the lead in the orderbook stakes. The Japanese orderbook surged in 2015 as Japanese owners contracted 22 million gross tons, often bulkers and largely at domestic yards.
“Against the background of a declining orderbook since 2008, the Japanese orderbook has switched from third to first position,” Clarksons Research said.
“Contracting has been extremely limited last year and this year so far, but at some point it will come back in greater volumes and then it will be necessary to watch the movements in the orderbook even more intently.”