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Liberia has become the second largest ship registry in the world, shipping analyst Clarksons said in its January 2019 World Fleet Monitor.

This report confirms that, in gross tonnage terms, Liberia has overtaken and outgrown the Marshall Islands, which is now in the third place.

“The Liberian fleet was the fastest growing major open flag in both the shipping and offshore sectors in 2018, and currently has a growth rate of 8.0% – more than twice that of most other open flags,” Alfonso Castillero, CCO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, said.
“There are a number of reasons for this, not least a growing recognition on the part of major shipowners and managers that Liberia, more than any other flag state, is able to combine increased safety and efficiency with reduced costs.” 
“Owners and managers have also been shifting their fleets to Liberia because of the huge cost savings available under the historic agreement on port dues with the People’s Republic of China. This agreement, which was recently renewed, can result in savings to owners of millions of dollars,” Castillero added.

Castillero further explained that the detention rate for Liberian-flagged ships was down in key jurisdictions in 2018, especially in areas such as China where other flags saw a rise in their detention rates. The lower detention rate of the Liberian-flagged ships was attributed to the success of the country’s complimentary Detention Prevention Programme.

The largest ship registry in the world remains Panama, with a total of 7,072 registered vessels, followed by Liberia with 3,726 and the Marshal Islands with 3,719 ships, according to data provided by VesselsValue.