According to Clarksons Research’s just launched annual World Fleet Register, the world merchant fleet grew by 3.1% in tonnage terms last year to reach an all-time high of 1.3bn gt.
“While annual fleet growth has dropped from a peak of 8.6% in 2010, today’s fleet still represents 50% more tonnage in the active fleet compared to 2009 and the aftermath of the financial crisis,” the London-based analysts noted.
Also of note in the report is the following statistic: newbuild contracting activity fell to its lowest level in over 30 years, with just 542 orders of 19.3m gt reported, down 70% year-on-year.
Demolition volumes rose 25% year-on-year in 2016 to 29m gt, with strong container (7.6m gt) and bulk carrier demolition (15.8m gt).
Greek owners still have the largest fleet, at 202.6m gt, up 5.4% year-on-year in 2016, followed by Japan (163.1m gt), China (139.2m gt), Germany (86.6m gt) and the US (63.4m gt). Greek owners were also the most active in the S&P markets, as both buyers and sellers.
The Panama flagged fleet remains the largest in the world at 223.8m gt, while DNV GL has the largest classed fleet in tonnage terms with a fleet of 268.8m gt.