According to a recent article in the German financial newspaper Der Handelsblatt, the weaknesses of the German shipping businesses to cover additional funding, benefits Greek and Chinese ship-owners. The article states that at least two-thirds of German businesses involved in commercial shipping are facing the most serious financial problems these last two years in contrast to the Greek that still have cash reserves.
“Traditional Greek ship-owners invest counter-cyclical, an act that differentiates them from their competitors, such as those in Germany. The Greeks, during the bloom period of shipping, were constantly buying new ships at very high prices. Now, the Greeks are benefiting from their state economies, in order to go into the market with favorable terms as they see the constant decrease in prices,” said Andrew Shoultheis, Head of the Shipping Department of Bahrenberg Bank in Hamburg. As analysts explain, the recent decision of Comerzbank to stop loans to shipping businesses did not cause the crisis, but it only made it known to the public. Analysts said the tax-free status for ship-owners in Greece does not alone explain their prosperity.
The German ship-owners are now asking for state help in order to handle the rapid increase in the costs of shipping. Chinese banks are also seeking alternative sources of funding, and seem ready to fight with ever bigger risks, not in order to help, but to save the orders of their yards. The market of used ships in Germany is now being watched very closely from Chinese and Greek businessmen, Handelsblatt newspaper states, in an interview of a specialist, who owns Costamare enterprise, and lives in Athens. The Greek ship-owners show a keen interest mainly for ships carrying containers aged between seven to 17 years. The article also refers to Technomar, that, residing in Athens, has 10 ships carrying containers from the German enterprise Claus-Peter Offer, costing more than 100 million Euros.