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Greeks Controlling Largest Fleet Seen Buying Used Ships Over New

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Greek shipowners, who control the world’s largest merchant fleet, cut orders for new vessels by 37 percent last year and made more purchases on the secondhand market, Golden Destiny said.

Orders for new ships fell to 116 from the 185 registered in 2011, the Piraeus, Greece-based shipbroker said today in an e-mailed report. Owners bought 216 used vessels, against 198 in the prior year, it said. Spending dropped 45 percent to $5.1 billion for new ships and slid 19 percent to $3.85 billion for secondhand vessels, the report showed.

Greek owners accounted for 5.6 percent of the $91.8 billion spent worldwide on orders for 1,423 new ships last year, according to Golden Destiny’s figures. That was down from 10 percent of the total for 2011, when 1,782 vessels were ordered.

Dry-bulk vessels that carry minerals and grains accounted for 44 of last year’s Greek orders for new ships, with spending put at $1.11 billion by Golden Destiny. Owners ordered 29 tankers worth $653 million to carry crude oil and refined products and 22 container ships to transport manufactured goods, according to the shipbroker. The tally excluded 34 private transactions.

Greek owners cut spending by 83 percent for bulk carriers and 58 percent for container ships, the report showed.

Chinese shipowners spent $768 million to buy 103 used vessels last year, down from $1.59 billion and 153 ships in 2011, Golden Destiny said. Orders for new vessels slid to 164 from 295 as spending dropped 28 percent to $4.96 billion.

Owners from Greece controlled 16 percent of the world merchant fleet in early 2011, the largest share by capacity, the most recent statistics available from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development showed. China ranked fourth, according to UNCTAD.

Related News and Information: Top worldwide stories: {TOP <GO>} Shipping menu: {SHIP <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Wiese Bockmann in London at mwiesebockma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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