Do You Know Who Has The World’s Largest Fleet In 2023?

As of January 2023, the global fleet consists of 105,493 vessels of 100 gross tons and above, according to UNCTAD’s 2023 Maritime Transport Review. As informed, in 2022, the production capacity increased by 3.2% annually, and the total tonnage reached 2.27 billion dead tons. The transport capacity of the container fleet increased by 3.9%, followed by an increase in the oil tanker fleet (3.4%). Meanwhile, bulk carrier capacity increased modestly by 2.8%, while gas carriers recorded the highest growth of 5%.

Furthermore, in terms of tonnage delivered in 2022, dry bulk carriers topped the list, followed by oil tankers and container ships. China, South Korea, and Japan led the shipbuilding industry, accounting for  93 percent of total tonnage delivered. Over the years, the expansion of global shipping capacity has experienced ups and downs, reflecting business cycles and trends in shipping, shipbuilding, and finance. Between 2005 and 2010, the average annual growth rate in global deadweight tons was a steady 7.1%. 

However, after the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the growth rate slowed to an average of 4.9% from 2011 to 2023 due to the consolidation of the shipbuilding industry and the contraction of the ship financing market. Since the pandemic, fleet growth has continued to slow, averaging 3.1% per year. Ships around the world are also aging. As of early 2023, the average age of merchant ships was 22.2 years, a slight increase over the previous year. Compared to 10 years ago, the world’s ships are, on average, two years older, and now more than half of ships are over 15 years old.

Scroll to Top