Greek and Chinese ship-owners are the most active buyers of second-hand container vessels as the crisis in container shipping attracts non-traditional operators to the sector, according to Alphaliner, a Paris-based consultancy.
These owners accounted for 35 percent of the ships and 50 percent of the capacity that have changed hands over the past 18 months.
German and Japanese owners were the most active sellers involved in 45 percent of the ships and 50 percent of capacity disposed during the period.
Greek owners bought 56 containerships with a capacity of 173,000 TEUs since January 2009 and Chinese owners acquired 33 vessels of 63,000 TEUs during the period.
German owners sold 73 ships of 128,000 TEUs while Japanese operators disposed of 40 vessels of 110,000 TEUs since January 2009.
Sales picked up since last November with 18 transactions on average per month, double the rate recorded in the previous 10 months, according to Alphaliner figures.
Second-hand prices increased by 65 percent since October as some owners anticipated a recovery in the market but they remain well below the peaks seen in 2008.
There have been fewer distress sales than expected, according to Alphaliner.
The most prominent forced sales were New York-based Eastwind Maritime’s disposal of 14 ageing units following its Chapter 7 petition for liquidation in June 2009 and the sale of 10 box ships in late 2009 by UK-based Allocean, a subsidiary of Australia’s Allco Finance Group, which went into liquidation in November 2008.
Germany remains the largest country of ownership, with a fleet of 4.87 million TEUs, or 35.1 percent of the world fleet, unchanged over the past 18 months due to new deliveries and second hard purchase by some owners.
Japan is second with 1.28 million TEUs, or 9.2 percent of the total fleet.
--Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.