20 Best Shipping Companies in Merchant Navy

The Merchant Navy is vital for global trade, supply chain and logistics, as most international trade is conducted through ships. Many shipping companies control and operate massive fleets, enabling the transportation of cargo from one port to another.

This article will examine some of the most reputable, trusted, and popular shipping companies in the Merchant Navy.

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A (MSC)

MSC is the biggest container shipping company in the world in terms of fleet size and cargo-carrying capacity. It was founded in Italy in 1970 by captain and Italian billionaire Gianluigi Aponte after he purchased his first ship, Patricia.

The company’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland, and controls around 19.7% of the world’s container ship fleet.

msc ship

It has 524 offices in 155 nations and employs more than 80,000 people, generating an annual revenue of about 28 billion. MSC’s vessels sail on over 200 trade routes and call at more than 500 ports worldwide.

It operates more than 790 container ships, including the world’s biggest, such as the MSC Turkiye and MSC Michel Cappellini.

It also owns a holiday cruise division called MSC Cruises. In 2015, it began train operations over the Iberian Peninsula. In 2022, it launched MSC Air Cargo.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management

Wilhlmson is a ship management company which offers vessel management and other services to the maritime sector. It has a portfolio of over 460 ships and 11,000 seafarers.

It offers technical vessel management, crew management services, and OPEX Management. It also aids in asset management and fleet development plans.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management

Some of its most demanded services include ship inspections, supervision of vessel construction from yard evaluation to delivery, and LNG and LPG vessel management.

AP Moller-Maersk Group

Maersk is a Danish Company founded in 1904 and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It has subsidiaries and offices in 130 nations, transports roughly 675 billion dollars worth of goods annually, and employs over 70,000 professionals.

Maersk has around 675 container ships, and the company engages not only in shipping but also in supply chain management and warehousing.

maersk

Maersk’s 2023 annual revenue was US $51.1 billion, and in 2023 Forbes Global 2000, it was ranked the 174th biggest public company in the world.

Maersk faced many difficulties, such as being targeted by the NotPetya ransom malware attack in 2017, which disrupted operations for many months. It also faces the Red Sea Crisis and has rerouted many of its ships.

In 2021, it purchased eight carbon-neutral vessels, and in 2023, it revealed the world’s first ship using green methanol.

Chevron Corporation

Chevron is an American energy company specialising in the oil and gas industry. It is based in California and conducts operations in over 180 nations. 

It is involved in oil and gas exploration, refining, production, transportation, sale, manufacture, and power generation.

chevron

The company’s history dates back to the late 1800s when smaller oil companies were incorporated into Standard Oil of California.

It began dominating the petroleum industry in the mid-1900s after acquiring more companies and partnering with others.

It is one of the world’s biggest companies and the 2nd largest oil corporation in the US in revenue.

CMA CGM

This is a French shipping company established by Jacques Saade in 1978. It is headquartered in Marseille, France and is the world’s 3rd largest container shipping company.

In 2023, its fleet included 593 vessels, recording an annual revenue of U.S. $47 billion.

cma cgm

Its business includes port operations, warehousing, supply chain management, and shipping. It has a presence in 160 nations, 400 offices worldwide, 750 warehouses, and 155,000 employees.

It serves 420 ports and operates 257 shipping lines.

MOL

Mitsui O.S.K Lines is a Japanese company based in Tokyo. It is one of the biggest shipping companies in the world, with a massive fleet of bulk carriers, liquified natural gas carriers, RORO ships, oil tankers, container ships, and container terminals. 

It was founded in 1884 as an intrinsic part of Mitsui Zaibatsu during the early phase of Japanese industrialisation. The company is now free of the Zaibatsu but is a part of a group of aligned companies.

MOL

The $11-billion shipping major owns or operates over 800 vessels and employs over 9000 people. 

It is also in the energy and offshore, product transport, well-being, and lifestyle businesses.

MOL has offices in Australia, China, Mauritius, Africa, Korea, New Zealand, India, and the Philippines. 

COSCO Shipping

China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited is a public company headquartered in Shanghai. It focused on marine transportation and logistics and was founded in 2016 after the COSCO Group merged with the China Shipping Group.

As of December 31, 2023, COSCO Shipping’s total fleet consisted of 1417 ships with a capacity of 116 million DWT, making it number one worldwide.

COSCO shipping
Image Credits: wikipedia/ kees torn

Its container fleet capacity is 3.05 million TEU, which makes it the 4th in the world.

The dry bulk fleet has 436 vessels with a 46.32 million DWT capacity. Its oil tanker fleet has 229 ships, and its general and specialised cargo fleet has 180 ships.

Teekay

This is a Canadian company which ships crude oil. It was founded by a Danish ship broker in 1973 who had come to the U.S. and worked on lands. 

It began as a regional company which purchased old oil tankers and established an office in the Bahamas due to low taxes. Most of its vessels were registered in Liberia, and it recruited seafarers worldwide. 

Teekay
Representation image

The company profited in the 1980s by operating in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War. It transformed from a mere tanker operator to a ship owner, and over time, it increased its operations to new segments like the gas and offshore sectors. 

Teekay has two companies, Teekay Corporation and Teekay Tankers. It has offices in Manila, Mumbai, Singapore, London, Canada, Bermuda, and Australia.

ONE (Ocean Network Express)

ONE is a Japanese shipping company launched in 2017 as a joint venture by Nippon Yusen Kaisha, K Line and Mitsui O.S.K Lines. It took over the container shipping business of its founding companies, giving it a fleet capacity of 1.4 million TEU.

It was formed to respond to changes in the container shipping sector impacted by sliding profits and surplus capacity.

After the three companies’ container shipping units were merged, the 6th largest container shipping company in the world was founded. MOL and K Line have a 31% stake each, while NYK has a 38% stake in ONE.

ONE
Image Credits: Goodwillgames/wikipedia

When established, it had 240 container ships, including 31 with a 14,000 TEU and more in capacity.

It is based in Japan and has principal offices in Singapore, the UK, the US, Hong Kong, and Brazil and local offices in 90 nations. The company employs around 14,000 people worldwide.

HMM Company

HMM Company Limited, earlier called Hyundai Merchant Marine, is a South Korean container shipping company that handles the biggest percentage of South Korean exports, becoming the top Korean container carrier.

It has four international offices, 27 subsidiaries, 5 overseas offices and 76 branches in different cities worldwide.

It ships crude oil, coal, iron ore, and other products in the domestic market, earning around 8 trillion Korean won annually.

Hyundai Merchant Marine
Image Credits: wikipedia/Wolfgang Fricke

In 2020, HMM launched the two biggest container ships in the world, the HMM Algeciras and HMM Copenhagen, with maximum capacities of 23,964 TEU and 23,820 TEU.

In 2023, Harim Group acquired HMM for 4.9 billion dollars.

Along with ONE, Hapag-Lloys, and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, HMM is also a member of ‘THE Alliance’, which intends to offer 34 services and directly call at 81 ports monthly.

NYK

The Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha is a shipping company based in Tokyo, Japan. Its fleet includes more than 800 vessels, including container carriers, bulk carriers, tankers, RORO Ships, Reefer Ships, LNG Ships, Car Carriers, and cruise ships.

It traces its history to the Tsukumo Shokai Company, established in 1870, which started the first passenger liner service in the country. 

NYK
Image Credits: Partonez/wikipedia

The company has over 30,000 employees and is also the biggest RORO carrier in the world. Its RORO ships can transport 660,000 cars made in the U.S., E.U., and Japan to markets in Asia, North and South America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

Evergreen Marine Corporation

This Taiwanese Company, part of the Evergreen Group, is headquartered in the Luzhu district of Taoyuan City and operates more than 150 container vessels.

Founded in 1968, Evergreen Marine is one of the biggest shipping companies in the world. Its vessels call on around 240 ports in 80 countries.

Evergreen Marine Corporation

Its primary trading routes are from East Asia to North America, the Mediterranean, North Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, East Asia to Australia, to eastern and southern Africa, South America and a service connecting East Asian ports to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Apart from shipping, it is also engaged in building containers and vessels, managing ports, engineering and real estate development.

It employs around 10,000 people and has four main transhipment hubs and container terminals.

Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation

The company was founded in 1972 and specialises in container transport with service routes traversing Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australia and Europe.

In March 2019, it welcomed two 14,000 TEU ships in its fleet: YM Warranty and YM Wellspring.

It has a historical link with China Merchants Steam Navigation Company that goes back to the Qing Dynasty.

Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation
Image Credits: wikipedia/Buonasera

Today, the company has more than 241 offices in 87 countries and regional ones in the U.S., Germany, Greece, Panama, and Singapore.

As of April 2024, Yang Ming has a fleet of 94 ships with a capacity of 707,000 TEUs.

Zim Integrated Shipping Services

Also called ZIM, this is an Israeli cargo shipping company headquartered in Haifa, Israel.

Founded in 1945 as ZIM Palestine Navigation Company Ltd, it is among the largest shipping companies in the world today.

The company bought its first vessel in 1947, which was modernised and named SS Kedema.

It was renamed ZIM Israel Navigation Company Ltd. in 1948 and transported thousands of people to Israel in the coming years. It also bought more vessels, such as SS Artza, Galila, and Negba.

Zim Integrated Shipping Services
Image Credits: wikipedia/Buonasera

In 2018, the company had an annual turnover of $ 3.2 billion and carried 2,914,000 million TEUs.

Its fleet has about 70 vessels, 13 wholly or partly owned, calling at more than 180 international ports.

The company has over 170 offices in over 100 countries worldwide, with regional headquarters in Norfolk, Liverpool, Hamburg, and Hong Kong.

Wan Hai Lines

Established in 1965, this Taiwanese company has become one of the largest in the container shipping sector, with 142 vessels and a 430,854 TEU carrying capacity as of 2023.

It is headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan and employs around 5000 people.

Its business was mainly between Taiwan, Japan, and Southeast Asia during its early years. However, it entered the container shipping business in 1976 to expand its reach and respond to new emerging trends in shipping, such as containerisation.

Wan Hai Lines
Image Credits: wikipedia/pete

Wan Hai recently expanded its services to the United States, Africa, South America, Canada, and the Middle East.

A weekly service was started in 2017 from Taiwan to Cambodia, and regular services were provided in Thailand and China.

The company ordered 20 new ships in 2018 and 50,000 new containers in 2021 due to a container shortage caused by COVID-19.

In 2022, the company sold ten container ships for scrap to decrease its fleet size.

Pacific International Lines

PIL was founded in 1967 in Singapore by Chang Yun Chung, the oldest billionaire in the world, until his death in September 2020.

The company operated just two vessels but continued to expand. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017 and emerged as one of the biggest shipping companies in the world.

Pacific International Lines
Representation image

PIL boasts a fleet of 95 ships, including container carriers, dry bulk carriers, and multi-purpose vessels with a capacity of over 400,000 TEUs. It also recently took delivery of 12 ships.

The company has over 15,000 workers worldwide and serves around 500 ports in 100 nations.

Anglo-Eastern Ship Management

This company was created in 2015 after the merger of Anglo-Eastern and Univan Ship Management Limited. It has more than 680 vessels under 3rd party management.

As of 2018, it was the biggest ship management company in the world by number of ships and 2nd biggest by number of sailors.

Its history goes back to 1974 when Peter Nash founded Anglo-Eastern as a chartering and ship-owning company.

In 2013, Anglo-Eastern managed over 450 ships, including bulkers, tankers, container carriers, and a few RORO and general cargo vessels.

Anglo-Eastern Ship Management
Representation image

After the merger, the company had around 24,000 employees, with its main office in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong.

It has over 20 locations in the Asia Pacific, Americas, and Europe, including Manila, Antwerp, Singapore, Mumbai, Glasgow, Odessa, and Hamburg.

It employs over 30,000 seafarers from several nations, mainly India, Philippines, China, Ukraine and Latvia.

Anglo-Eastern has one of the biggest training centres in India in Mumbai and Delhi. It also has a cadet training academy called Anglo-Eastern Maritime Academy in Karjat.

Orient Overseas Container Line

Also known as OOCL, this container shipping company is based in Hong Kong and has offices in 70 nations. It has 59 ships with capabilities varying from 2,992 to 21,413 TEU and two ice-class vessels for harsh environments.

It was founded in 1969 by Chinese shipping magnate C.Y. Tung and is a part of the 1998 Grand Alliance formed by Hapag-Llyod and NYK.

Orient Overseas Container Line
Image Credits: wikipedia/Bahnfrend

OOCL provides 78 weekly services worldwide, connecting Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, New Zealand, Australia, and the Mediterranean.

Its affiliated companies own and manage container terminals in Asia and North America, such as KAOCT in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and Long Beach Container Terminal in California.

Synergy Group

Synergy Group is based in Singapore and is one of the biggest ship management companies in the world. It offers services like asset management and custom-designed strategies to ship owners. 

It has 28 offices in 14 nations and employs over 24,000 seafarers. Synergy manages 668+ ships, including LNG and LPG Ships, Container Ships, Chemical and Oil Tankers, Bulk Carriers and Car Carriers.

Synergy Group
Representation image

The company emphasises maritime digitalisation and the well-being of its employees.

It also prioritises each client’s specific requirements. It promises to offer the most efficient solutions to meet all their needs in building ships, managing ships, converting ships, or recycling vessels.

K-Line

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is a Japanese company with 439 vessels, including container vessels, Liquefied natural gas carriers, RORO ships, tankers, and bulk carriers.

K Line’s origins go back to 1878 when Kawasaki Heavy Industries was established after Kawasaki Shozo founded Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard in Tokyo, which 18 years later was incorporated as Kawasaki Dockyard Co Ltd.

K-Line
Representation image

Kojiro Matsukata, a well-known admirer of art, founded K-Line. In fact, his Ukiyo-eprints collection can be found in the Tokyo National Museum.

In 1926, K Line ranked 13th in the world. By the end of World War II, it had lost 56 vessels in its fleet, and only 12 survived.

The shipping companies in the Merchant Navy are the most important players in global maritime trade. They own massive fleets of ships which transport different types of goods from one part of the world to another. The biggest shipping companies mentioned in the article offer services to many ports, aid in global economic development, and contribute to national economies.

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The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

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Zahra is an alumna of Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is an avid writer, possessing immaculate research and editing skills. Author of several academic papers, she has also worked as a freelance writer, producing many technical, creative and marketing pieces. A true aesthete at heart, she loves books a little more than anything else.

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