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.
MSC container ship at the Port of Antwerp
01 Jul 2013
The planned alliance between Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM poses a major challenge for ports and container terminals in Europe, the U.S. and Asia serving the carriers’ pooled network of 255 ships on 29 service loops, according to shipping consultant Drewry.
30 Jun 2013
China International Marine Containers (Group) subsidiary CIMC Financing Leasing Co.
P3 Network fleet comparisons
19 Jun 2013
The P3 Network announced between Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM will bring together portions of the three largest global container ship fleets. The alliance, which is planned for the second quarter of 2014, will enable the three carriers to deploy their largest vessels in the Asia-Europe trade and cascade slightly smaller ships into the trans-Pacific and the trans-Atlantic lanes. This infographic gives a look at how the partners' fleets - both individually and as contributed to the alliance - measure up against the global fleet.
Maersk Line container ship
18 Jun 2013
The P3 Network announced today between Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM will have little or no impact on the glut of vessel capacity that has been depressing global freight rates, but will enable the world’s three largest container lines to substantially cut their operating costs on the Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic trades.
17 Jun 2013
French carrier CMA CGM will increase rates on westbound cargo moving on its Epic service from India to North Europe and the Mediterranean, starting July 1.

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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.