As the effects of Covid-19 have begun to wane, the war in Ukraine has heavily impacted international shipping in 2022 with the international sanctions having severely affected trade routes, facts clearly evident in an in depth analysis of Greek shipping just released by Petrofin Research.

With the analysis focusing on the years of the pandemic, Petrofin’s founder and head, Ted Petropoulos, describes 2020 and 2021 as a “unique and difficult period” and says the trends seen during this time will undoubtedly effect the development of the Greek fleet in the following years.

Petropoulos says the extremely high energy prices have resulted in inflation rates shooting up across the world and especially in Europe and the US. Central banks were forced to raise interest rates with US dollar rates to levels of 5%, whereas US$ LIBOR was less than 0.5% only a year ago.

“The combination of these factors and a slowdown of China have led to a booming tanker market but a fall in dry bulk and container markets. All sectors have been affected by short term disruptions in the patterns of trade as Europe tries to import as much LNG, coal and oil as possible to offset Russian cessation of gas supply ahead of this winter,” says Petropoulos.

“In addition, the congestion in China and Australia fell rapidly further adding downward pressure on charter rates. Thus far, tankers have greatly benefitted from the war and its consequences, whilst dry bulk and containers have suffered.”

Seeking to determine the implications for Greek shipping, Petrofin believes it would appear that the Greek fleet is expected to continue its upward trend in 2022 and 2023 across all sectors, even allowing for higher scrapping. Secondhand activity is considerably reduced in 2022 as high level prices in dry bulk vessels and containers is supported by charter rates. “Consequently, the mix between newbuilding, second hand vessels and scrapping is expected to result in a marginally slower increase in the Greek fleet in 2022,” says Petropoulos.

He continues: “Sales of tanker vessels are also down this year despite the high charter rates due to high level prices. Overall, we anticipate a modest growth in the Greek fleet for 2022 with an anticipated higher growth in 2023 and a continued modest rise in the fleet’s age.

“Overall, the fleet’s growth and newbuilding orders are hindered by the concerns over a new and cost effective propulsion system that would meet the emissions targets post 2030. This is holding back owners from exuberant ordering of Tier III vessels. In addition, it is expected that scrapping will increase due to technical / emissions related reasons.

“Lastly, the gap between the Greek and Chinese fleet is expected to continue to narrow, especially once China achieves its much anticipated recovery in 2023.”

Filed: 2022-12-22