Mediterranean Shipping Co. came within 105,716 20-foot-equivalent units in imports from becoming the top carrier in all three segments of U.S. trade: imports, exports and total trade.
Standing in its way, again, was Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, which increased its first half import volume by 16 percent year-over-year to retain the top spot in the headhaul trade. Volume at No. 2 MSC rose 4.7 percent in the period.
Data (PDF): Top 40 Container Carriers in U.S. Export Trade Lanes .
Data (PDF): Top 40 Container Carriers in U.S. Import Trade Lanes .
Maersk’s 60-40 mix in favor of imports also contrasted with MSC’s nearly evenly split 51-49 ratio.
MSC easily topped the U.S. export trade with a 169,002-TEU margin, although No. 2-ranked Maersk advanced 10.3 percent and MSC’s volume dropped 3.7 percent year-over-year.
In total trade volume, only 63,286 TEUs separated the two largest carriers. MSC won top ranking with an 11.1 percent market share, while Maersk held 10.7 percent of the 14.9 million-TEU market. Maersk led the duo’s year-over-year growth in the first half, with volume up 13.6 percent, far outpacing MSC’s essentially flat 0.4 percent growth.
Overall first half volume rose 2.3 percent, led by a 2.4 percent rise in imports. Compared to the pre-recession first half of 2008, overall trade inched ahead just 1.1 percent, with imports essentially flat with a 0.2 percent gain. Imports represented 57.3 percent of total U.S. trade in the first half.
The 2010 National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by 2014 hasn’t exactly translated to soaring container volumes; first half 2012 exports, while 24 percent ahead of first half 2009, were only 2.3 percent higher than the pre-recession first half of 2008.
The JOC Top 5 Export and Top 5 Import Container Lines carried 41.4 percent of the 14.9 million TEUs in overall U.S. container trade, with 6.1 percent year-over-year growth in the first half.
With MSC leading the way, the JOC Top 5 Export Container Lines were up 2.4 percent in year-over-year volume, holding a 41.3 percent share of the total 6.4 million-TEU export trade in first half 2012.
While overall first half export volume advanced 2.3 percent year-over-year, 12 carriers among the Top 40 export lines actually saw volume decline, and 18 carriers were still below their pre-recession 2008 results.
Volume among the JOC Top 5 Import Container Lines increased 9.1 percent year-over-year, giving those carriers 41.4 percent of the 8.5 million-TEU import trade. Although overall imports in the first half increased 2.4 percent year-over-year, volume declined at 12 of the JOC Top 40 import carriers year-over-year, and 17 lagged their pre-recession 2008 results.
Four container lines entered the U.S. trade lane since 2010: two start-up carriers, The Containership Company and Hainan PO Shipping, and two carriers that expanded their services, Grand China Logistics and T.S. Lines. TCC, Grand China and T.S. Lines have since withdrawn from the U.S. trade lane. Only Hainan PO remains, ranking 29th among the Top 40 U.S. import carriers.
There were changes among Jones Act carriers last year. U.S.-flag Horizon Lines withdrew from the trans-Pacific, and Matson Navigation ended one of its two trans-Pacific services. Sea Star suspended Puerto Rico service from Philadelphia-Delaware River ports in July 2011 after moving from New York-New Jersey in April 2010. U.S.-flag Trailer Bridge emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with court approval of its reorganization-refinancing plan on March 16, just four months from its filing.
As of Sept. 10, Alphaliner calculates current active total liner capacity at 16,673,944 TEUs aboard 5,973 ships, with 16,192,821 TEUs of capacity on 4,955 fully cellular active ships. Since June 3, that’s a 1.6 percent increase in active liner capacity with seven fewer ships in the fleet. The top 10 fleet operators control 62.8 percent of the market with 10,465,820 TEUs in capacity, 47.9 percent owned and 52.1 percent chartered. The top 10 fleet operators have 205 ships on order totaling 2,088,922 TEUs, representing 20 percent of their existing fleet capacity.
Contact Marsha Salisbury at email@example.com.