By Ilias Belos
The Greek capital’s shipping cluster is back among the top 10 global metropolitan centers, the annual report by the Baltic Exchange shows, though this was not thanks to shipping activity in Athens and Piraeus, but due to the development of the Port of Piraeus after its acquisition by China’s Cosco.
While Greek shipowners control the world’s biggest merchant fleet based on capacity, Athens and Piraeus have failed not only to attract newcomers but even to hold on to the ocean-going shipping groups based in the Greek capital. This is hardly surprising for those who follow the market closely, as a survey by Petrofin Research shows that Greece-based shipping companies shrank from 926 in 1998 to 588 last year.
Athens-Piraeus has returned to the top 10 of the 2019 Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Center Development list by marginally overtaking Tokyo and because Busan has slipped on domestic developments in South Korea. Singapore tops the list for the sixth year in a row.
A few days ago the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee in London highlighted the steep decline of entries on the Greek register, which in mid-March included less than 15 percent of Greek-owned vessels.