Home Economy Top Gain! …As Liberia Becomes World’s Largest Ship Registry; Surpasses Panama

Top Gain! …As Liberia Becomes World’s Largest Ship Registry; Surpasses Panama

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By: H. Richard Fallah

MONROVIA: Liberia has ascended to the top spot in the global maritime industry as the leading ship registry based on gross tonnage.
According to the latest data from Clarksons Research, the oldest independent African Republic (Liberia) has taken over Panama to become the world’s largest ship registry.
The data showed that Liberia’s fleet has experienced outstanding growth, expanding by 5.6% in the current year, which has allowed it to establish a substantial 2.2 million gross tonnage lead over Panama.
This means it is the first in three decades that Panama has been overtaken by other countries in terms of gross tonnage.
However, it is also important to note that Panama still maintains a significant advantage when it comes to the number of ships under its maritime registry, with more than 3,200 vessels on its books.
Liberia’s achievement in becoming the largest ship registry can be attributed to the longstanding success of its maritime program.

The Liberian Maritime Program was established in 1948, with strong support from the United States of America.
Liberia is a founding member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), since 1949, and has played a critical role in promoting maritime safety, security, and environmental protection on the global stage.
The report from the Clarksons Research indicated that the current ranking which sees Liberia sits top with 6% follow by Panama with 5% also shows some noteworthy trends among other flag states.

It also pointed out that Malta and Cyprus have suffered losses, likely attributable to the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
On the other hand, Germany has emerged as the flag state with the most significant percentage growth, signaling a positive trend for a nation that has struggled to achieve substantial maritime growth over the past decade.
The Maritime Authority of Liberia sees the country`s rise to become the world’s largest ship registry as a reflection on the nation’s commitment to the maritime industry and its recognition of the significant potential it holds for economic growth and development.
The administration of the program has evolved over time, with the Bureau of Maritime Affairs (BMA) initially overseeing its operations under the Ministry of Finance and later the Ministry of Transport.

In 2010, with the passing of the Liberia Maritime Authority Act, the BMA transformed into the Liberian Maritime Authority (LiMA), becoming a public corporation with a broader mandate to manage all commercial activities within Liberia’s maritime domain.
According to the Liberia government, the rationale behind this transformation was to diversify the Authority’s focus beyond being a leading maritime shipping and corporate registry program.
Liberia aimed to strategically support and nurture enterprises across its domestic maritime domain, fostering greater economic and social benefits for the nation and its people.
Clarksons Research is a data and analytics arm of market leaders in the provision of independent data and intelligence around shipping and trade.
The group is uniquely powerful offering underpins the workflows and decision-making of thousands of organizations across the global maritime industry.
Their data and analyses tracks and projects shipping market supply and demand, freight, vessel earnings, indices, asset values and macroeconomic data around global trade flows and economic developments.

Through its World Fleet Register and Sea/net systems, they provide comprehensive tracking of the world shipping fleet, including granular information on vessel equipment, companies, shipbuilding, emissions regulations, deployment and trading patterns, fueling transition and alternative fuels.

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