Τετάρτη, 23 Ιουνίου 2010

Hellenic fleet diminishes in numbers, but improves quality says Petrofin Research

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

An aggregate of 108 vessels were removed from the Hellenic-owned shipping fleet, bringing the total number of ships down to 4,655, while they are managed by a total of 758 companies.

These are vessels of all types, sizes, flags and ages. According to Petrofin’s latest research, the top 30 owners are back to owning just over 50% of the Greek fleet, a position they have held over the years, with the exception of a slight drop last year .

The cumulative strength of Greek shipping is further demonstrated by the increasing importance of the top 50 and top 70 owners, the latter’s share having risen to 72.42% of the entire fleet. “We note that the Greek fleet has not stood still in the last year, when it had to face the biggest historical fall in vessel values and the deepest recession of the last few decades”, said the report.

But, while this was the first time since 2005 that the fleet as a whole showed a reduction, their average age has fallen to 16.64 years, down from last year’s 17.6 years old and 2008’s 18.4 years old. Petrofin said that “.the average vessel DWT has gone up significantly to 52,159 DWT, compared to 49,819 tons in 2009, and 48,926 tons in 2008. In 2007, there were 4346 vessels, managed by 725 companies, with an average age of 18.7 years and an average DWT 47,860 tons.

Moreover, despite the fall in the numbers of the Greek fleet by -2.3%, the total deadweight increased from 237,288,216 DWT representing a +2.3% increase in carrying capacity”.

Vessels over 10,000 DWT are owned by 448 companies, one less than last year, while 5,605,903 new tons were added to vessels over 10,000 DWT, although their
number fell by -83.

“This internal reshuffle is significant at times when finance is scarce. It shows that older and smaller tonnage was sold to pay for newer and bigger. The rise in tonnage has been uninterrupted since 2005. The average vessel DWT is now 75,836. Last year there was a slight decrease from the year before (72,152 tons in 2009 down from 72,321 in 2008). This was overturned during 2010.

The Greek fleet’s age continues to improve substantially for this tonnage category. It is now 12.9 years of age, compared to 14.18 last year and 14.8 in 2008” stated Petrofin.

The fleet of bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt has also gone down this year, to 1,557 from 1,634 last year. They are managed by 326 companies, four less than last year. The most significant development is that tonnage in Bulkers goes down for the first time since the beginning of this research in 2003.

The drop is by 867,240, to 108,006,901 in 2010 from 108,874,141 in 2009. However, the average vessel DWT is now 69,368 DWT compared to 66,630 DWT in 2009, 65,065 DWT in 2008, 62,938 DWT in 2007 and 60,272 DWT in 2006.
The age is down to 14.4 from 15.6 in 2009 and 16.2 in 2008. “This is the most popular sector in Greek shipping, representing 44.48% of the entire fleet, up from 34.31% last year. This underlines the growing importance and commitment by Greeks towards dry bulk shipping” said Petrofin.

“Tankers have a story of their own. The companies that run them are down to 91 from 99, but everything else is an improvement. Vessels are up by 22, so far the only sector that has shown an increase in vessel numbers. Overall tonnage is also significantly up to 97,003,018 from 91,219,320, a 5.78m DWT increase.

Their age is down again, to 9.4 years of age average per tanker vessel. Average DWT is also up to 124,293 from 120,025 in 2009, 122,453 in 2008 and 116,036 in 2007. Tanker trade was not as badly hit by last year’s crisis and this relative cash flow advantage (also secured by period charters) contributed to the augmentation and simultaneous renovation of the fleet” Petrofin mentioned.
In its commentary, Petrofin said that thus far, Hellenic shipping has withstood the negative market effects and has repositioned itself to meet the new challenges. These relate to the huge order book that threatens to overwhelm a promising shipping recovery, as well as the dearth of ship finance.

Although not directly affected by the Hellenic economic crisis, Hellenic shipping is indirectly affected by a negative economic environment in Hellas, where most of its offices are located, as well as on the effect the crisis has had on Hellenic banks’ ability to continue financing Hellenic owners’ requirements.

Seeing the increased importance of the Far East region, Hellenic owners have developed strategies to exploit such opportunities in chartering, ownership, finance, as well as shipyards. The continuous growth and evolution of the Hellenic fleet shall continue to depend on the state of the shipping markets and the willingness of banks to finance its requirements.

What is undoubted, though, is the commitment, liquidity and flexibility of Greek owners, that has kept Hellenic shipping at the top of shipping nations in the world.