If you want to see which way the currents are flowing in Denmark's second biggest export sector, namely shipping, a good place to look is the hot-off-the-press Danish Illustrated Shipping List 2009*, published by Seapress. This time around there are 768 pages packed with statistics and descriptions of no less than 1,774 merchant vessels of over 100 tons gross weight sailing under the Danish flag and registered in Danish ports, or sailing under foreign flags and more than half Danish-owned, reports financial daily newspaper Børsen.
Those 1,774 merchant ships represent a 13% increase in fleet size in the last 12 months. The book also reveals that Danish shipping companies have a total of 375 new ships on order as of 1st October this year, representing a record investment of around DKK 93bn (USD 17.2bn). Figures like these make it clear that Danish shipping is an industry charged with ambition and steaming full speed ahead.
According to Lloyds Register of Shipping, the Danish merchant fleet accounts for just about 3% of the world's combined tonnage. But this neglects to take into account the fact that Danish capital interests and shipping companies control a significant number of ships under no fewer than 62 foreign flags, including 140 vessels sailing under the British flag and 120 under the flag of Singapore. This flag-state list goes on and on, until one reaches the conclusion that in one way or another, Denmark controls more like 10% of the world's fleet than 3%.
Danish Illustrated Shipping List 2009 is packed with all kinds of fascinating facts to deepen and broaden your knowledge. Such as how the growth of the Danish merchant fleet compares across the various vessel types (tanker, container, dry bulk etc), which new flag-states have appeared on the Danish list (China is one of them), and whether Danish shipping companies' use of exotic flags of convenience like the Marshall Islands or the French Antarctic Lands is on the rise or on the ebb (the answer is both).
*The book is 'English-friendly' with key texts, headlines and technical terms given in both Danish and English, so that English-speaking readers will have little difficulty in understanding and using the book - Ed.