Though international analysts like Morgan Stanley said that the Greek crisis will not have a direct impact on shipping companies, Greek shipping companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges sank on Monday.
Greeks have said No to austerity terms imposed by international creditors, which could have led to the releasing a package of fresh financial aid which could help in the long battle to keep Greece afloat.
The vast majority of ship-owners and other members of the maritime community will have voted “Yes” as the outcome least likely to harm hopes of a return to stability and the country’s standing in Europe.
The voters’ decision though has increased concern within the Greek shipping industry, across the board.
Some analysts say that an avalanche of negative economic indicators out of China, rather than Greece, is what’s spooking marine shipping investors, according to a report in WSJ.
Shrinking Chinese demand for imported commodities, and fewer exports from its factories, would be devastating for companies that own container ships, oil tankers and other vessels.
If Greece exits the euro, it doesn’t mean they’ll stop shipping iron ore to China, aid Kevin Sterling, an analyst covering the big shipping lines for BB&T Capital Markets.
Athens-based holding company DryShips, Inc., which owns a fleet of about 40 cargo carriers, 10 tanker ships and several deepwater drilling ships, saw its shares fall 9.2% to $0.54. Diana Containerships Inc. fell 5.3% to $1.95, while containership owner Danaos Corp. fell 2.8% to $6. Costamare Inc., a lcontainer ship owner, fell 1.7% to $18.10.
The Morgan Stanley report said that the closure of the Greek banks would not have a major effect on the shipping companies, as most keep money in non-Greek banks.
But the shipping companies would not be spared from an overall impact of the country's economic downturn on the global economy, he warned.
The tax threat has ship owners looking at alternative tax regimes, including Cyprus. Interest is also being shown in London, Singapore, Dubai and even Switzerland.
Greek owners make up 20 per cent of the global commercial shipping fleet and the industry has been a major profit source for the country, as it accounts for around 7.5 per cent of the Greek economy.