China Overtakes Greece to Become World’s Largest Shipowning Nation by Gross Tonnage
Greece - which for so long held the title of the world’s largest shipowning nation - has been overtaken by China, according to new data from Clarksons Research.
Whilst China has taken the title based on gross tonnage, Greece remains slightly ahead when the rankings are measured by deadweight (dwt). Japan remains in third position in Clarksons’ research.
According to the latest rankings, the countries own the following tonnage:
- China - 249.2m gt.
- Greece - 248m gt.
- Japan - 181m gt.
Other top ranking nations include South Korea and the U.S., in fourth and fifth positions respectively.
The growth in China’s merchant shipping fleet has been considerable, with the nation’s fleet accounting for one-twentieth of the world total in the early 2000s, to more than one-seventh today. During the last decade alone, the capacity of China’s fleet has more than doubled.
The growth in China’s shipping fleet is only matched by the growth of its shipbuilding industry. China has now ousted South Korea from the top spot for global shipbuilding activity.
Clarksons noted in its research that, “China has been more active in the newbuild market (now almost double the Greek-owned orderbook) and more active in S&P”. The research also noted that China now has the largest fleet share in bulkers (24%) and containers (16%), with COSCO and China Merchants being the two biggest owners in the country.
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- Adam Whittle