Beijing - A remarkable maritime event occurred recently. China became the world’s second-largest shipowning country, overtaking Japan. The top shipowner, Greece, is still much larger but the gap is closing as China’s fleet expansion continues at a rapid rate. Numerous giant ore carriers, tankers and container ships scheduled for delivery to Chinese owners in the months and years ahead are likely to further boost capacity. Strong and accelerating growth in the China-owned merchant ship fleet has unfolded. In 2017 an increase exceeding 9% was seen, and recent signs suggest that this year’s annual rise could be similar.
The extensive orderbook for new vessels due to be delivered through the next two or three years will add substantial tonnage, but other less predictable influences also will determine fleet growth. Many new ships will be employed in long-haul international trades where China is the cargo importer or exporter.
For container ships, cargoes both to and from China are likely to provide employment while, for bulk tonnage in the biggest size categories, import trades will be most prominent.
(Source: Hellenic Shipping)