10 Largest Container Shipping Companies in the World

 Container shipping is one of the most important and necessary means of cargo transportation through sea routes. In present times however, there does not exist any monopoly by any one of the container shipping companies leading to a complete lack of friction and tension in the international cargo shipping community.

All the same there are a few international shipping companies that lead the race in terms of the scale of operation of their shipping lines. Ten of these leading shipping conglomerates can be listed down as follows:

1. NYK: An acronym for the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, the NYK is one of the biggest cargo companies operating internationally.

The company has been in operation since the 1870s, operating a passenger fleet-line before undergoing a transition into a core container shipping company towards the mid-20th century.

2. Evergreen Marine Corporation: A shipping conglomerate based in China, the Evergreen Marine Corporation was founded in 1968 by Dr. Yung-Fa Chang, a visionary in his own right.

At present, the company has offices established all over the world and with a operational capacity of more than 160 container ships is regarded to be one the largest cargo shipping companies in the world.

3. CMA-CGM:  France’s leading container shipping company, CMA-CGM came into existence in the year 1978, as a result of series of mergers between previously established shipping corporations. Jacques Saade who is the head of the company was the instrumental force behind its coming into active operation.

At present, the company has a fleet of over 350 ships operating in over 150 routes globally.

4. Maersk: A shipping corporation based in Denmark, Maersk Shipping Line is a branch of the AP Moller- Maersk company. Widely well-known for its fleet of container ships, the Maersk Line made its debut in the international container shipping arena in the year 1904.

At present, the company has a fleet of around 500 container ships with a capacity of around 19, 00,000 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units).

5. MSC: The Mediterranean Shipping Company, abbreviated to MSC is a Swiss international cargo company which was established in the year 1970.

At present, with a vessel line-up of over 456 container ships, the conglomerate is rated to be one of the most extensive cargo companies in the world.

6. Hapag-Lloyd: The German based Hapag-Lloyd is one of the most renowned and well-featured companies in terms of international shipping companies. The company was established in the year 1970 as a result of a merger between the Hamburg-American Line and the North German company Lloyd.

Today the shipping corporation has over 130 ships catering to about five million containers on a worldwide scale.

7. APL: An auxiliary company to the Singaporean Orient Shipping Lines, APL is an abbreviation for American President Lines. Founded in the year 1848, the shipping conglomerate just celebrated its 160th anniversary in the year 2008.

One of the most noteworthy achievements of the company is that it was the first company to successfully utilise extra-large (53 feet) containers on its vessels, accounting for shorter cargo transportation.

8. COSCO: The China Ocean Shipping Company or COSCO, as it is popularly known is one of the leading conglomerates in terms of container shipping companies.

At present the company’s operations are spread over 40 countries with a fleet of 150 container ships.

9. Hanjin: A South Korean conglomerate, Hanjin Shipping Company is one of the largest Asian cargo companies in the world. At present the company has a cargo operational capacity of over 1 billion tonnes on a yearly basis with around a fleet of about 60 ships.

In the year 2003, Hanjin and COSCO formed a strategic alliance. The alliance has benefited both shipping conglomerates and powered them to an unequivocal position as Asia’s leading cargo shipping companies.

10. CSCL: CSCL is the abbreviation for the China Shipping Container Lines, a company based in Shanghai. Started in the year 1997, the company soon rose amongst its ranks and today has propelled not just itself but also the country to leading heights in the container shipping industry. The company finds its name in both the Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Exchanges.

Container shipping is a huge industry and these key players are aware of the minutest operational manoeuvrings necessary to power them to being the world leaders in the commercial enterprise, not just in their home countries but also at an international level.


You may also like to read-Top 10 Historic Ships of All Time






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  1. Vikram says

    You have not listed the companies in the order of their size. Check out AXS Alphaliner – Top 100 operated fleets

    For quite some time, Maersk was No.1. Since 2010, however, MSC has moved into the No.1 slot (rated for carrying max number of Containers).

    Your very first entry, NYK, is one of the smallest !

  2. Gene says

    I agree with you vikram….this still good info though….I never thought that Evergreen is also a chinese company…I think this is europeean

  3. sudhakar S says

    Hi All,

    on what basis the ranking is given could you pls tell us.
    And which is one is the number one slot.

    Regards, Sudhakar S

  4. Vikram Dutta says

    Hi John..Evergreen is the group of four shipping companies i.e. Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd., Italia Marittima S.p.A., Evergreen Marine (UK)Ltd. and Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong) Ltd.


  5. Pravin says

    Hi vikram do u think really MSC (only) has a large vessel to carry max number of containers?……if yes its a real JOKE….

  6. James says

    “7. APL: An auxiliary company to the Singaporean Orient Shipping Lines, APL is an abbreviation for American President Lines. ”

    APL is owned by neptune orient lines, a singaporean company

  7. omunyin emuu bisansio says

    Please my i know which company has never mergers & rakend the best.

  8. Anoop Sharma says

    can any one tell me that what is the procedure to get the sponsorship for 12 pass candidates ??

  9. Gangesh Jha says

    Good Day Emmu,

    That is MSC only, which has achieved such a spectacular growth internally, through organic growth, rather than through acquisition and mergers.
    @ Mr. Praveen, request to read what Mr. Vikram conveyed, he has clearly mentioned that it is an evaluation for containers slot availability with all the ships being operated by MSC compared to the same of every other shipping companies mentioned right down here, reather than a single vessel’s carrying capacity such as MSC Daniela Class or MAERSK E Class. Ofcourse I agree with you that such ultra large vessels are with a few more shipping companies.
    Looking forward for you to boost up your understanding capabilities of a statement, and then to move up for comments.

    Many Thanks And Best Regards,

  10. Dipankar Mishra says

    AP Moller Maersk! Line the grt Company
    They Provide Door to Door Service n a get Payment System

  11. sujaan singh parmar says

    I want to join shipping camny…. i m BCAS(beuro of civil avation security) certified screener..

  12. PRADEEP says

    HY ALL,

  13. Gaurav Patel says

    i am doing MBA in Shipping management i would like to do my training in shipping line.

    With regards

    Gaurav Patel

  14. Stephen Bivin says

    All the research I have done has told me that the Greek Marine Navy is the largest fleet and moves the most tonnage of any shipping outfit in the world. But some how thw y werent even in the top 10 on this list. Something is fishy in Denmark.

  15. says

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    Can you offer recommendations? I am currently getting the Baltic Freight rates Index.
    Thanks!It would also be helpful if you told me why you
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