Container shipping has become one of the most lucrative and efficient means of transportation. Connecting ports from one corner to the other, container ships have shaped the way many businesses operate nowadays. The benefits of this transportation method, introduced nearly six decades ago, are undeniable: lower shipping costs, increased safety, and a wider variety of products and goods that can be transported by water.
There are virtually hundreds of shipping companies worldwide, big or small. However, there are a few companies out there with a fleet that would put most navies to shame, lets take a look at the biggest shippers out there.
One of the oldest competitors in our countdown, MOL short for Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, started out as ocean transport of Miike coal from Kuchinotsu (Japan) to Shanghai in 1878 and become one of the worlds leading container shipping companies with 110 ships.
TEU per year: 506,239 Market Share: 3.0% Existing Ships: 110
China Shipping Container Lines, or CSCL for short, is definitely the late bloomer to the container shipping game. Even though it started out in 1997, the company has made waves and it is now a big name on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Markets.
TEU per year: 549,192 Market Share: 3.3%, Existing Ships: 140
Even though it has a fleet of only 110 ships, the Hanjin company has made our countdown due to the more than 1 billion tons of cargo it ships every year.
TEU per year: 573,977 Market Share: 3.4% Existing Ships: 110
American President Lines, or APL for short, has been in the business of maritime shipping for more than one hundred years. An impressive feat in its own right, but not the only achievement of the company. APL is widely regarded as the first ever shipping company to use extra-large containers on its ships.
TEU per year: 576,163 Market Share: 3.4% Existing Ships: 126
Hapag-Lloyd was born in 1970, when two leading shipping companies joined forces, merging into one entity: Lloyd and the Hamburg-American Line. Currently, the company operates a little over 139 ships.
TEU per year: 632,049 Market Share: 3.8% Existing Ships: 139
COSCO, an acronym for the China Ocean Shipping Company, services ports in over 40 countries and operates a fleet of more than 162 container ships, making it the leading shipping company on Asian territory.
TEU per year: 716,868 Market Share: 4.3% Existing Ships: 162
With over 182 container ships and offices all around the world, this Chinese mega-corporation is one of the biggest shipping companies around.
TEU per year: 723,378 Market Share: 4.3% Existing Ships: 182
CMA-CGM is the result of several shipping companies merging together back in 1978. Apparently that was one very successful merger, as CMA is nowadays one of the leading container shipping companies in the world, with a fleet of nearly 408 ships and more than 150 international routes.
TEU per year: 1,384,428 Market Share: 8.2% Existing Ships: 408
MSC, short for the Mediterranean Shipping Company, has a history of over four decades. Though younger than other container shipping companies in our countdown, MSC has amassed an impressive fleet of 454 container vessels.
TEU per year: 2,225,011 Market Share: 13.2% Existing Ships: 454
With a fleet of approximately 605 container ships, Maersk Shipping Line was bound to take the cake in our countdown. Maersk entered the world of maritime shipping at the beginning of last century and since then it has slowly worked its way towards the top.
TEU per year: 2,584,922 Market Share: 15.4% Existing Ships: 605