Denmark has leapfrogged the US to claim the world’s fifth largest operated fleet of vessels, its shipowners association says.

Denmark, which boasts the planet's biggest shipowning company in AP Moller-Maersk, has moved past the US only 18 months after taking sixth spot from Germany.

Anne Steffensen, chief executive of Danish Shipping, said: “We have seen an important increase in the number of ships operated by Danish shipping companies, and at the same time there are more ships flying the Danish flag than ever before.”