[Updated for 2022] Container shipping is one of the most important and necessary means of cargo transportation through sea routes.
In present times, however, there is no monopoly by any 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 container shipping companies that lead the race in terms of the scale of operation of their shipping lines.
Ten of these leading container shipping companies based on cargo-carrying capacity can be listed down as follows:
1. MSC – Mediterranean Shipping Company
Maersk has been on the no. 1 spot since it overtook Evergreen in 1996. The domination of Maersk Line in terms of TEU capacity has been broken first time in 25 years by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
It is a Swiss international cargo company established in the year 1970. With a buying spree of the new and old vessels, MSC added almost 100 ships in its fleet in the last one year, having vessel line-up of over 645 container ships, the conglomerate is rated to be one of the most extensive cargo companies globally, with a TEU capacity of around 4,287,473 TEU.
A shipping corporation based in Denmark, Maersk Shipping Line dominated the world container shipping market holding the no.1 spot for more than 25 years. Maersk Shipping Line is an AP Moller- Maersk company branch. 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. Now the company is diversifying its presence in green fuel and digital technology space. At present, the company has a fleet of around 738+ container ships with a capacity of around 4,275,542 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units).
France’s leading container shipping company, CMA-CGM was in the 4th spot last year (2021). With new mega-ships being added to its fleet, it is now the 3rd largest company in terms of TEU capacity. CMA CGM came into existence in the year 1978 as a result of a series of mergers between previously established shipping corporations. Jacques Saade, the head of the company, was the instrumental force behind its coming into active operation. At present, the company has a fleet of over 568 ships operating in over 150 routes globally. It has a carrying capacity of around 3,198,217 TEU.
4. COSCO – China Ocean Shipping Company
The China Ocean Shipping Company or COSCO, as it is popularly known, is one of the leading conglomerates in terms of container shipping companies. COSCO, pushed down in 4th position by CMA CGM this year, has it’s operations spread over 40 countries with a fleet of around 480 container ships with a container carrying capacity of 2,932,779 TEU. However, its order book contains additional 5,85,000 TEU which will be added to the company capacity in the coming year.
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 due to a merger between the Hamburg-American Line and the North German company Lloyd. Today the shipping corporation has over 250 ships catering to about 1,743,983 TEU container carrying capacity worldwide.
6. ONE – Ocean Network Express
Established on July 7th, 2017, One Network Express integrates three major shipping companies, MOL, “K”-Line, and NYK. Setup in Japan and headquartered in Singapore, ONE was founded to strengthen services in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The alliance of these three companies currently has a combined fleet of 209 vessels with a container carrying capacity of 1,531, 530 TEU, making it one of the largest container shipping alliance companies in the world. However, compared to 2021, there is a reduction of 2% in the TEU capacity mainly due to the reduction in the number of chartered vessels.
7. Evergreen Line
A shipping conglomerate based in Taiwan, 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 worldwide and with an operational capacity of more than 204 container ships and a container carrying capacity of 1,477,644 TEU. It is regarded to be one of the largest cargo shipping companies in the world. Currently, Evergreen Line has the world’s largest container ships in its fleet.
8. Hyundai Merchant Marine
HMM Co. LTD., formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine is a leading container shipping company based in South Korea. With a fleet of 75 vessels and cargo-carrying capacity of over 819,790 TEU, HMM Co. LTD. is one of the top 10 shipping companies in the world, moving the largest portion of South Korea’s exports. Being a top integrated logistics company globally, HMM Co. LTD. plays an important role in Korea’s economic development.
9. Yang Ming Marine Transport
Based in Keelung, Taiwan, Yang Ming Marine Transport is one of the oldest and largest shipping companies globally. Established in 1972, the company provides services across Asia, Europe, America, and Australia with a fleet of around 90 vessels. It has a container carrying capacity of around 6,62,047 TEU.
10 Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd
Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., commonly known as ZIM, is an Israeli international cargo shipping company. It was founded in 1945 as the ZIM Palestine Navigation Company Ltd. Currently, ZIM has a fleet of 111 ships with a total container carrying capacity of 4,19,064 TEUs. It has added more than 30 ships to its fleet in 2021, making it one of the top 10 container shipping companies in the world.
Container shipping is a huge industry and these key players are aware of the minutest operational manoeuvrings necessary to power them to be the world leaders in the commercial enterprise, not just in their home countries but also at an international level.
Reference: Alphaliner / Individual container shipping website.
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