MSC overtakes Maersk as the world’s largest container line

  • For decades, Maersk was the largest container line in the world.
  • On Wednesday, the Swiss-Italian company MSC claimed the top spot when it received delivery of a container ship.
  • MSC and Maersk each have a market share of 17% in container freight.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has overtaken Denmark’s Maersk to become the world’s largest container line.

MSC’s rise to the top came on Wednesday when the Swiss-Italian company received a container ship in Singapore, according to Alphaliner, a maritime consulting firm. MSC bought the ship last year for $ 50.5 million.

With its new acquisition, MSC’s fleet can now transport 4.3 million standard 20-foot containers – about 2,000 more than Maersk.

MSC and Maersk now each have a market share of 17% in container freight – ahead of CMA CGM, COSCO and Hapag-Lloyd, according to Alphaliner. Together, the world’s five largest container shipping companies account for about 65% of the market.

MSC’s move up the chart comes after a year of great success for container freight, where the world is struggling with a crisis in the supply chain. It is also the first time in decades that Maersk is not at the top of the list.

“Unlike most other major ocean-going shipping companies, which reached their positions in the top ten through a series of mergers and acquisitions, MSC’s progress to the top was completely organic,” Alphaliner said.

MSC has added more container capacity and has purchased 128 used container vessels in recent years – “an unprecedented number in shipping history,” Alphaliner said.

Meanwhile, Maersk has expanded aggressively into land logistics and technology, Insiders’ Emma Cosgrove reported in October.

Alphaliner expects MSC to continue to consolidate its position as the world’s best container shipping company after 2022, as it has ordered more vessels than other shipping companies.

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