The top 20 ocean container carriers boosted their combined world market share to a record 84 percent in July, according to Alphaliner.
But the industry remains “highly competitive” despite the increasing dominance of the larger lines as no single carrier controls more than 20 percent of the market, the container market analyst said.
The top carriers’ market share slipped briefly in 2009 and 2010 as the downturn in container shipping resulted in a temporary capacity reduction.
But the trend reversed over the past 12 months as the 20 largest carriers collectively boosted their capacity by 12 percent, outpacing industry growth of nine percent, Alphaliner said.
According to Alphaliner, the top three carriers are: Maersk, with a 15.4 percent market share; Mediterranean Shipping Company, 12.9 percent; and CMA CGM, 8.3 percent. United Arab Shipping Company, ranked at 20, has a 1.5 percent market share.
The recent failures of start-up carriers, including The Containership Company and Yanghai Shipping, highlighted the high barriers to entry for new companies seeking to join the container shipping market, Alphaliner said.
“Unless new entrants have a strong financial backing, it will be increasingly difficult for new carriers to compete against larger and more established industry players,” the research group said.
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