Greeks top table

Greece has dethroned Japan as the world’s largest shipowning nation in a way which contradicts the traditional view of the two countries, Clarksons says.

The world’s largest shipbroker placed Greece at the top of its 2014 standings ahead of Japan in the latest twist in a duel between the “odd couple”.

Clarksons explains after trailing Greece in the 1990s, Japan surged ahead when the 2000s super-boom took hold.

“But Greek owners who were quite restrained during the boom, made up for it in 2010 and by the start of 2014 they were back at the top of the charts, with a fleet totalling 164m GT,” Clarksons said.

“So the perception of the two titans turned out to be wrong.

“Perceived risk taker Greece held back in the boom, whilst Japan’s bulk investors had a flutter, from which they now have a bloody nose.”

Greek owners today boast 4,894 ships of a collective 168.9 million gt, beating the 8,537 ships of 159.4 million gt in Japanese hands, Clarksons data shows.

China in third place has 6,427 vessels of 116.7m gt, while Gernamy sits fourth with 95.1m gt, the shipbroker said in its latest weekly update.

South Korea, USA, Norway, Singapore, Italy and Denmark complete the top 10.