Liberian Registry Reaches 200 Million Gross Tons

Liberian registry continued growth of flag state
The Liberian flag now includes 4,750 vessels totalling 200 million gross tons

Published May 19, 2021 4:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Liberian Registry is highlighting its continued rapid growth, moving from the third to second-largest flag state for the shipping industry. The registry became the second-largest flag late in 2018 and recently passed the 200 million gross ton mark in part due to its expansion into new markets.

“This historic milestone, and rapid growth of the Liberian Registry over the course of the past two years is a testament not only to the quality of service and responsiveness provided by the Liberian Registry but to the trust placed in the Liberian Registry by a majority of the world’s quality shipowners and operators,” said Alfonso Castillero, Chief Operating Officer of the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry. “I would also like to highlight that this growth has been achieved responsibly with a focus on new, technologically advanced, efficient, safe vessels joining the Liberian fleet.”

According to data from the Liberian Registry, the flag registered 524 ships in 2020 and so far in 2021 276 ships have been registered, of which 28 percent came from the delivery of newbuilds. Currently, the Liberian fleet stands at 4,750 vessels with a total of 200 million gross tons. 

By comparison, Panama, which remains the largest flag state, reports that it currently has a total of 8,484 vessels in its registry representing a total of 227 million gross tons.

Citing data from Clarkson’s World Fleet Monitor, Liberia reported that its registry grew at just over eight percent in 2020 with 13.8 million gross tons added between January and mid-December 2020. Flag transfer tonnage accounted for 60 percent of Liberia’s growth in 2020.

Liberian officials highlighted that the registry has been the fastest-growing flag state since 2019. They credited a focus on new markets, savings on port dues in the major ports of the world which have been an important part of supporting clients’ commercial operations, and augmenting of staff and services as contributing to the registry’s sustained growth. In addition to Greek shipowners, Liberia reports that it is becoming the open registry of choice for shipowners in Japan, South Korea, and China.

They also emphasized that while they are experiencing strong growth, they have not sacrificed quality and the focus on safety. Officials said that the registry maintains its position on the White List of the major Port State Control MOU’s, and experienced a double-digit reduction in detentions across the world.

The average age of the Liberian flag fleet is also on the decline as the fleet size continues to grow due to a focus on attracting newbuilds to the registry. They reported that the average age for Liberian-flagged vessels is currently 10.8 years.