Greece continues to be the world leader in shipping despite the economic hardships faced by the country.

For the first time in history, the Greek shipping fleet is now worth more than US$100 billion, making it the most valuable in the world, while Greece also remains the world leader of shipping in terms of number of vessels in the water, with the latest figures showing the Mediterranean country controls just over 15 per cent of the global fleet.

Figures given to Neos Kosmos by the London-based online evaluation site show that Greek shipowners currently control just over 4,174 vessels, including 2,157 bulkers, 1,405 tankers, 398 container ships, 141 LPG tankers and 73 LNG tankers.

The total worth of the Greek fleet currently stands at a staggering US$105 billion, more than the combined value of the fleets of Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway.

Coming a distant second behind Greece is Japan, whose fleet is valued at $89.75 billion (up 0.7 per cent from last year). China comes in third with a value of $72.67 billion (down 2.6 per cent).

The combined value of the global fleet is estimated at $680.4 billion, up 3.2 per cent from last year.

In the last twelve months the Greek fleet has increased in size by 4.5 per cent to 342,832,296 deadweight tons, the industry’s standard measurement for how much ships carry.

It is a remarkable achievement considering the difficulties the global shipping industry is facing, including low freights, a stagnating sale and purchase market and bank lending restrictions.

However, while the size of the total fleet continues to rise, studies by the Athens-based Petrofin Research group show that the number of companies involved in Greek shipping has started to drop.

Although finance and opportunities continue to be available to the large shipping companies, resulting in them investing heavily in modern eco vessels, the going is much tougher for smaller Greek owners, who have been struggling against poor shipping markets and the scarcity of finance and capital.

Fleet age also continues to decline as Greek shipowners invest in newer ships, with the average age of a Greek vessel now at 13.26 years, down from 14.05 in 2013 and 14.7 in 2012.

The Greeks, it should be noted, are renowned for taking great care of their vessels, giving them the ability to get greater usage and extend their time at sea while also ensuring a higher sell-on price when they decide to trade them.

According to the statistics the bulker fleet of vessels over 20,000-dwt has gained 59 ships in the last twelve months, its average age is down to 9.2 years, its tonnage up 6.4m dwt and it has lost six companies.

The tanker fleet of units over 20,000 dwt shows an increase of 5.85m dwt but there are nine fewer vessels. The number of companies remains the same but the age profile has gone up for the second year in a row.

The container fleet of units over 20,000 dwt is 2.24 years younger at 9.86 years old, has gained 1.48m dwt and is one of the very few sectors to show an increase in the companies that run them, up three.

Regarding LPGs over 20,000-dwt, the number remains the same as a year ago and their age is up slightly. LNGs are only over 20,000-dwt, and 18 vessels were added in 2014 to make 50 overall, and their age is down to 3.5 years from 4.25, making them the youngest sector of the fleet.

The figures show John Angelicoussis to be the leading Greek shipowner in the world.

Angelicoussis’ companies include Anangel, Maran Tankers and Maran Gas, and comprise just over 110 vessels in the water with a total value of $3.8 billion.

Angelicoussis, who is from Chios and is now based between Athens and London, also has a further $3.85 billion worth of newbuilds on order at various shipyards in Asia.

George Economou, CEO of Cardiff Marine and Dryships groups, is ranked second among the Greek owners. His fleet comprises of 109 vessels with an estimated value of $3.7 billion along with a further $1 billion of new vessels on order.

Coming in third is George Prokopiou, the boss of Dynacom and Dynagas. According to, the companies share just over 65 vessels valued at almost $3.5 billion. They also have seven new vessels on order, estimated to be worth just over $600,000.