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Liberia Replaces Panama as the World’s Largest Flag

For the first time in 30 years, Panama is no longer the world’s largest ship registry. 

Rival Liberia has overhauled the Central American nation in terms of gross tonnage in new data issued by Clarksons Research.

The Liberian flag now has a 2.2m gt lead over Panama at the top of the registry rankings, its fleet growing by 5.6% so far this year, according to Clarksons.

In terms of the number of ships on their books, Panama retains a healthy lead of more than 3,200 ships.

Looking at the list of the top 30 flags, the big losers in the year to date have been Malta and Cyprus, likely as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, while the flag that has grown the most in percentage terms by some distance has been Germany, a nation that is showing signs of having finally thrown off the maritime shackles that have dogged growth for more than a decade.

The Liberian Maritime Program was established in 1948 with strong support from the United States of America. In 1949, Liberia became a founding member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and has over the years played a critical role in promulgating maritime safety, security, and environmental protection.

The Bureau of Maritime Affairs (BMA) administered the program under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance and later the Ministry of Transport. With the passage of the Liberia Maritime Authority Act of 2010, the BMA then transitioned into the Liberian Maritime Authority (LiMA); a public corporation with greater responsibility of managing all commercial activities within the maritime domain of Liberia.

The rationale for this transition was to diversify the Authority’s activities from its long-standing focus of being a nation with a leading maritime shipping and corporate registry program to a nation that strategically focuses on building and, or supporting enterprises across the domestic maritime domain for greater economic and social benefits to the Nation and its People.

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