Maersk Knocked Off ‘World’s Largest Container Line’ Spot

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has overtaken Maersk, from Denmark, to become the world’s largest shipping line.

Quartz reports that MSC’s ascension to the number one spot came on Wednesday 5 January, when the Swiss-Italian owned shipping line took delivery of a new container ship in Singapore, according to maritime consultancy Alphaliner. MSC purchased the container ship in 2020 for a reported $50.5 million.

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

Both MSC and Maersk have a 17 per cent market share in container shipping, which is ahead of competitors CMA CGM, COSCO, and Hapag-Lloyd, according to Alphaliner. Collectively, the world’s top five container shipping lines account for about 65 per cent of the market.

MSC’s dethroning of Maersk comes after a bumper year for container shipping while the world tackles a supply chain crisis. It also makes the first time that Maersk has not topped the list.

“Contrary to most other major ocean carriers, which reached their positions in the top ten through a series of mergers and acquisitions, MSC’s rise to the top was entirely organic,” said Alphaliner.

MSC has been adding more container capacity and has bought 128 secondhand container ships in recent years, which according to the maritime consultancy, is ‘an unprecedented number in shipping history.’

Alphaliner expects MSC to continue consolidating its position as the world’s top container shipping line beyond 2022, as it has ordered more ships than other carriers.

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