Top 40 Container Carriers

Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM together held a 27.1 percent share of the U.S. laden container trade in the first half of 2013, or 4.1 million 20-foot-equivalent units, slipping 0.5 percent year-over-year. Overall U.S. container volume, excluding empties, rose 1.5 percent year-over-year to 15.1 million TEUs in the first half of 2013. First half U.S. imports increased 2.2 percent to 8.7 million TEUs, and represented 57.9 percent of total U.S. trade.

Top 40 Carriers in U.S. Containerized Trade in 2012


Differing trends for the leading carriers saw Maersk Line narrow Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s lead as top of the JOC’s annual ranking of the top 40 container carriers in the U.S. trade. Overall, Maersk’s U.S. volumes grew, while MSC’s edged down.

Rounding out the Top 40 for 2012 were many carriers of varying size, including one, Hainan PO Shipping, that no longer serves the U.S. market. Combined, the shipping lines in the JOC’s rankings handled 98.4 percent of U.S. containerized oceanborne exports and 99.1 percent of U.S. containerized oceanborne imports in 2012.

Special Coverage

MSC vessel
They’re not all increasing their U.S. trade volumes, but the carriers making up the proposed P3 Network are boosting their combined traffic, an indication of the big ships they’re cascading to the major U.S. east-west trades.

News & Analysis

10 Dec 2013
From January-September 2013, U.S. container trade was up 2.3 percent year-over-year, while rising 3.3 percent above pre-recession 2008 results.
CMA CGM Media in France
13 Nov 2013
Capacity growth in the Asia-Europe liner trade will increase 6.5 percent in 2014 unless carriers cancel services or introduce more blank sailings, according to the latest analysis by SeaIntel.
20 Oct 2013
Mediterranean Shipping Co. released details of the massive vessel-sharing alliance that also will include Maersk Line and CMA CGM and will launch next spring if it wins regulatory approval.
Rodolphe Saade
05 Sep 2013
CMA CGM is building a war chest. The French ocean carrier has nurtured its debt-ridden balance sheet back to health and is raising capital to guard against future down cycles in what promises to be an increasingly volatile environment for the container shipping industry.
Hyundai container terminal
04 Sep 2013
Hyundai Merchant Marine said it expects to return to profitability after a long interval of operating losses.
Maersk Kampala in 2007. Photo by Andrew McAlpine, courtesy Maersk Line.
04 Sep 2013
Firefighters today extinguished a fire aboard the Maersk Kampala which broke out on Thursday as the container ship was preparing to transit the Suez Canal en route to Europe.

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Commentary

Although many in the industry have been waiting and wondering when the inevitable consolidation of ocean carriers would happen — presumably via the historical processes of buyouts, mergers or absorbing bankrupt companies — the consolidation has been happening in a much more organic process.