According to the Wall Street Journal, Greek shipowners, are more and more moving their financing and ship orders to China, given the cheap credit and lower shipyard costs there.
As stated in the article, Greek shippers operate 16% of the world’s fleet of dry-bulk and container vessels, and about a quarter of all oil tankers. By cutting costs aggressively, they have overcome the global economic crisis better than many of their German, Scandinavian and Japanese competitors—holding on to market share despite a sharp slowdown in international trade since 2008.
Greek shipping magnates, being the biggest and most influential buyers of new ships- heavily courted by shipbuilders in places like Japan and South Korea – their growing Chinese orders could influence other global buyers, the paper noted.
As of the end of September this year, Greek shipowners had ordered 188 vessels from Chinese yards, compared with 217 from Korea, according to Athens-based XRTC Business Consultants.
The budding Sino-Greek shipping partnership dates back to 2010 when China’s then-Premier Wen Jiabao, while on a visit to Athens, offered $5 billion in soft loans to Greek shipowners if they opted for China’s yards to build new vessels.
“The Greeks are the world’s dominant buyers both in terms of new and used vessels so they are contributing to the glut,” said Jonathan Roach, senior analyst at London-based Braemar Securities Ltd.