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 Medea in the Port of Le Havre
06 Aug 2013
Buoyed by profits, the sale of some assets and cash infusions from two outside investors, CMA CGM is sporting a much healthier balance sheet this year than it was just two years ago. If it continues to post profits and the financial markets allow, it will launch an initial public offering of its stock at the end of 2014.
Mediterranean Shipping Co. container ship
30 Jul 2013
Mediterranean Shipping Co. has placed so many orders for new container ships recently that its orderbook is the largest among all carriers, according to Alphaliner.
08 Jul 2013
Overall U.S. container trade with Asia increased 1.3 percent to 19.5 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the 12 months ending in March compared to the prior 12-month period, according to data from PIERS, a Journal of Commerce sister company.
Edith Maersk container ship
04 Jul 2013
Shipping lines are entering the peak season in the major east-west trade lanes at a decided disadvantage because they aren’t taking the steps necessary to control capacity to match modest growth in container volumes.
Evergreen container ship
03 Jul 2013
The top 21 ocean container carriers increased the combined capacity of their fleets by 6.3 percent in the past year amid slowing cargo demand, according to industry analyst Alphaliner.



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.