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.
01 Sep 2013
Firefighting tugs early Monday were making progress toward extinguishing a blaze on the Maersk Kampala, five days after fire broke out in a container in the ship’s forward bay as it steamed toward the Suez Canal, Maersk Line said.
Cosco container ship at Prince Rupert
29 Aug 2013
Cosco Container Lines reported a loss of $366 million for the first half of 2013, China Cosco Holdings Co. said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Thursday.
Zim container ship in the Port of Haifa
29 Aug 2013
Zim Integrated Shipping Services reported a $72 million net loss for its second quarter, up from a $47 million loss in the same period of 2012, but an improvement on the $110 million deficit in the 2013 first quarter.
CMA CGM container ship
29 Aug 2013
CMA CGM’s second quarter net income jumped to $268 million from $169 million a year ago, mainly because of the sale of a large minority stake in its ports unit.
09 Aug 2013
The South Korea carrier's net loss widened in the second quarter as growth in cargo demand lagged capacity, putting downward pressure on rates.

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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.