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Top 25 shipowning countries

The top shipowning countries ranked by the commercial value of their fleet in 2021 are China, Greece, Japan, the United States and Germany, according to information from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Overall, the list of top shipowners and registries remains almost unchanged.

As of January 1, 2022, the top three shipowning countries in terms of both deadweight tonnage and trade value were, as in previous years, China ($154.827 million), Greece ($148.157 million), and Japan ($144.477 million).

Greece leads in terms of tonnage and China in terms of commercial value.

Ownership of the world fleet, ranked by commercial value (million US$), 2022, main vessel types

Source: UNCTAD calculations, based on data from Clarksons Research, as of 1 January 2022 (estimated current value). Note: Value is estimated for all commercial ships of 1,000 gross tons and above.

In the 12 months to January 1, 2022, among the top 25 shipowning countries, Switzerland recorded the largest increases in tonnage at 17 percent, followed by China at 13 percent.

Shipowning countries

Over the 2014-2022 period, the top 12 countries remain unchanged, although Greece has advanced the most, while China has overtaken Japan.

In 2021, the value of the global shipping fleet increased dramatically.

Strong market conditions pushed up vessel prices, with the largest increases for containerships.

At the same time, there has been increased demand for second-hand vessels, driven by global trade disruptions, a shortage of new cargo ships and the war in Ukraine.

Ownership classification and fleet registration is more volatile in terms of trade value than tonnage.

China recorded the largest share increase of 1.09 percentage points, followed by Switzerland, Hong Kong (China) and the Republic of Korea, whose fleets have a higher proportion of containerships.

 

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