World merchant fleet hits a record of 80,665 vessels
THE world merchant fleet last year rose by 12.7 million gross tonnes to reach a record 80,665 ships, of 458 million gross tonnes, according to figures published by the Lloyd's Register (LR) of Shipping.
LR's World Fleet Statistics also show that Panama overtook Liberia as the world's largest shipping register.
Panama increased its fleet in terms of gross tonnage by 5.1 million gross tonnes (gt), or 9.8 per cent, to 57.6 million gt, including 5,564 ships.
Liberia's fleet fell by around two million gt, or 3.6 per cent, to 53.9 million gt in 1,611 ships.
Greece ranks as the third largest fleet in registration terms, standing at 29.1 million gt, followed by Japan, Cyprus, Bahamas and Norway.
Looking at the largest fleets in terms of owner nationality, Greece and Japan topped the list, accounting for 15 per cent and 13 per cent respectively of the world's cargo carrying fleet by deadweight tonnes (dwt).
Oil tankers accounted for 270 million dwt, which represented 39 per cent of the total cargo carrying capacity of the fleet.
The average age of the oil tanker fleet was 16 years, while that of bulk carriers was 14 years. Passenger and general cargo ships were the oldest types.
At the other extreme, the chemical tanker fleet was the youngest with an average age of 11 years.
About 20 million gt, or 1,505 ships, were completed last year. This was up nearly eight per cent from 1992, representing the highest level for more than 10 years.
Cargo-carrying ships accounted for 31.1 million dwt in 1,043 ships, or 98 per cent of the total gross tonnage completed last year.
Japan and South Korea emerged top of the league, completing more than two-thirds of the tonnage between them.