Significance of the world ship market

More than 90 % of the goods exchanged worldwide are carried by merchant-ships on the seaway. About 170 nations active in shipping are operating some 53,000 registered sea-going vessels. The effects of the globalisation and, in particular, the ongoing international division of labour were led to a strong fleet growth the last years. The German Pfandbrief Banks belong to the leading financiers of this fleet.

Categories of vessel eligible for finance

As a rule, only self-amortizing commercial ships may be financed through Pfandbriefe – but not other ship types such as warships. Commercial vessels can be divided into three broad categories for financing purposes:

  • Container ships
  • Tankers (liquid cargo)
  • Bulk carriers (dry cargo)

Ship sizes

These three categories can be further subdivided according to size. There are special maximum sizes which must not be exceeded, for example to be able to enter a certain port or pass a canal.
The Panama Canal, for instance, is only passable for ships up to 294.13 m in length, 32.31 m in width, and with a maximum draft of 12.04 m.
Vessels of these dimensions have come to be known by the term “Panamax”. Container ships exceeding these dimensions are referred to as “post Panamax”.

Special vessels

Besides these main types, there are of course a great many subcategories in the maritime industry and, in particular, a wide range of special vessels such as gas and chemical tankers, car carriers, refrigerated vessels etc., some of which operate in very narrow niches.

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