Asian shipowners have finally surpassed their European rivals to control the largest share of the global fleet.

A report released by Clarksons Platou in March revealed that Asia controlled 43% of global tonnage, or 48,472 vessels of 637m gt, at the end of 2021 compared with 42% held by European owners, who control a fleet of 30,610 ships of 630m gt.

The fact that Asia has stolen the shipping limelight came as no surprise.

“For a long time, shipping market observers predicted that Asian owners would soon control the largest share of the global fleet, just as shipbuilding and trade had moved East,” said Clarksons Platou, which noted that Asian owners have grown their market share against the continent’s growing share of global trade, which has driven significant newbuild investment in many countries.