MSC replaces Maersk and ranks first incapacity, Container transport market will welcome what big reshuffle?

According to the latest data from Alphaliner, Mediterranean Lines (MSC) has now overtaken its 2M partner Maersk to become the world’s largest shipping company in terms of capacity, based on existing capacity plus 24,000 TEU of new ship orders. After 25 years at the top of the capacity rankings, Maersk is about to lose ground.


MSC has been active in the second-hand boat market since 2020. According to Vesselsvalu,MSC acquired a total of 20 container ships in 2020 and eight more in the first three weeks of 2021.

According to Clarkson,MSC’s latest operation in the second-hand boat market was the purchase of three vessels, 1850 Teu Acacacia Makoto from Qingdao Peng Teng Company in China, and 1730 Teu Voronezh from Fisco.

1732 Teu Rhl Aurora purchased from Lloyd’s and built in 2004, 2009, 2006;  They were priced at $6.95 million, $9 million, $6.5 million.

Analysts believe MSC’s current operating strategy is to reduce the impact of soaring charter rates and support its growth targets by adding capacity.

Standard & Poor’s, a brokerage, has described MSC’s ambitions as being interested in virtually anything that floats

MSC was founded in Naples, Italy, in 1970, when the shipping line used only two ships to operate the Mediterranean Sea to Somalia. And has since expanded its operations through the purchase of used container ships. Headquartered in Geneva,MSC has 480 offices in 155 countries and operates more than 200 routes serving 500 ports.


But because MSC is wholly owned by the founder’s family and is the only one of the world’s top 10 shipping companies that is not publicly traded, its financial data and other information are difficult to obtain, making it one of the world’s most secretive shipping companies.


MSC and Maersk have consistently held the top two positions in terms of capacity since becoming the world’s second largest shipping line in 2004

On November 19, 2019, former Maersk COO Ren Toft, who has worked for Maersk for 25 years, became MSC’s CEO. This is the first time in 50 years that MSC has had an outsider CEO.


It was Toft who led the collaboration between Maersk and MSC in the 2M Alliance during his tenure at Maersk.


In a report published in November, Sea-Intelligence said Maersk’s current strategy was more focused on profitability than capacity. In recent years, Maersk has shifted its focus to onshore logistics services, with multiple internal reorganisations focusing on the integration of logistics businesses.


Previously, Maersk CEO Szolen said in an interview, in his opinion, the number one or the world’s largest container shipping company, for Maersk, is not the most important thing, can expand the business to increase profitability is the focus.


It is worth noting that among the world’s top ten shipping companies, EVA Shipping, currently ranked 7th, has surpassed ONE and Hapelot after adding new orders, and will become the 5th largest shipping company in the world

It is understood that thanks to the surge in freight rates, Evergreen Marine’s profit surged last year, the third quarter alone more than the previous three years combined. Add to be affected by the factor such as lack cabinet lack cabin, the evergreen sea of rich and powerful opened the expansion route of a lot of shipbuilding.

At present, EVA Marine has ordered 46 self-commissioned vessels and long-charter vessels with a total order price of about $6.096 billion. There are also 20 15,000 TEU container ships under negotiation.

COSCO Shipping Group and CAFI Group, which rank 3rd and 4th in global shipping capacity, are also locked in the competition of shipping capacity.

The existing capacity of the two is 3038254TEU and 2995955TEU respectively, only a difference of 42299TEU. With the addition of new shipbuilding orders, the capacity gap between the two is expected to be further narrowed.

But it is unclear what will happen to the shipping market during the 1-2 year period from contract to delivery, and whether Maersk will be willing to relinquish the top spot. Is there a new dark horse ship enterprise leaping forward? The competition among shipping lines for capacity is far from over.

Shippers made a lot of money in 2020, and in the face of the unpredictable 2021, this round of capacity shuffle may be the New Year’s shipping market surging.

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