Top five carriers serving US increase share

Top five carriers serving US increase share

The concentration of the US shipping market in fewer hands continues. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

The top five carriers serving the United States each increased their combined market shares in the first three quarters of the year, giving them as a group control of more than 50 percent of US import and export volume. The top five carriers’ share will expand further when Maersk Line realizes the gains of its acquisition of Hamburg Süd, which closed on Thursday, Nov. 30.

The top five — CMA CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, and Evergreen Line increased their combined import market share by 1.2 percentage points to 51.1 percent compared with the same period of 2016, and added 0.5 point to their share of US exports, to 50.1 percent, according to PIERS, a sister product of

The same five carriers have increased their import and export share by 2.7 and 1.1 points, respectively, since 2013. CMA CGM, by virtue of its September 2016 acquisition of APL, increased its import share 6.5 points to 12.8 percent from 2013, and its export share 6.8 points to 12.9 percent. 

An acquisition also lifted Hapag-Lloyd into the top five, as its combination with United Arab Shipping Co. helped boost its import share to 8.5 percent in the first three quarters of 2017, up from 5.7 percent in 2013. The German carrier’s export share rose 1.8 points to 8.1 percent over the same period.

MSC increased its import share 2.5 points from 2013 to 12.3 percent, and its share of exports inched up 0.2 point to 12.7 percent. 

Evergreen Line increased its control of the import market 0.9 point to 8.1, as its share of exports grew 0.6 point to 6.7 percent. 

Maersk’s import share from 2013 fell by 1.3 percentage points to 9.3 percent as its export share slipped 0.1 point to 9.7 percent, but if its merger with Hamburg Süd had closed by the third quarter of this year, its import share would have been 11.9 percent and its export share would have been 13.2 percent. That would have made Maersk No. 3 in terms of imports and No. 1 for exports. 

Although the growing market shares of the top five carriers may make it seem like they have a commanding grip on the market, a look at the other mergers in progress — Cosco Shipping Holdings with OOCL, and Japan’s Big Three of “K” Line, MOL, and NYK Line into the Ocean Network Express — reveals that the top five carriers serving the US import and export trades will find stiff new competition. 

A merged Cosco and OOCL would control 12.8 percent of the import market, which would tie it for No. 1. It would be the fourth-largest export carrier, controlling 9.8 percent of US outbound trade,

The Japanese carriers’ merger would create the No. 1 carrier on the import trade with a 13 percent share, and No. 3 on the export trade with control of 11.9 percent of the market. 

The US export market appears to be more competitive than imports. Although all of the top five carriers posted year-over-year volume gains through the third quarter, with MSC’s traffic surging 15.8 percent, only three of the top five recorded year-over-year volume gains in US exports. Export traffic at Maersk fell 6.5 percent to 897,260 TEU and Hapag-Lloyd’s exports fell 5.4 percent to 746,849 TEU despite the addition of UASC. 

As the industry has consolidated, newcomers have made the Top 40 rankings, including Antillean Lines, Bahri, and Intermarine.

One newcomer of note is SM Lines, which snapped up the trans-Pacific and intra-Asia assets of Hanjin Shipping after it went bankrupt in August 2016. SM Lines had a market share of 0.7 percent in imports and 0.2 percent in exports in the first nine months of the year. That compares with Hanjin’s import market share of 5 percent in the same period of 2016 and export market share of 3.4 percent.


Rankings of the JOC Top 40 container carriers in US import trade lanes
US IMPORTS, January-September 2017 versus January-September 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 in laden TEU*
The JOC Top 40 container carriers in the US import trade carried 99.6 percent of the 17 million TEU in the overall US import trade during the first nine months of 2016, rising 11.1 percent year over year, yet spiking 27.7 percent above the same period in 2013. The JOC Top 5 carriers garnered 51.1 percent of the US import trade lane, or 8.7 million TEU during the first nine months of 2016, jumping 8 percent year over year, and spiking 25.5 percent above the same period in 2013.
 January-September  US IMPORTS Percent Volume Change
in Jan.-September 2017
US Headquarters
2017 Market Share20132014201520162017 FROM
1CMA CGM/; www.apl.comMarseille; Norfolk, Va. Singapore; Scottsdale, Ariz.12.8%1,908,7741,953,7902,005,3612,034,5522,171,325 13.8%11.1%8.3%6.7%
2MSCwww.mscgva.chGeneva; New York12.3%1,361,8141,537,5261,729,7271,808,6992,094,132 53.8%36.2%21.1%15.8%
3Maersk Line *1www.maerskline.comCopenhagen; Florham Park, NJ9.3%1,511,8821,554,4161,430,4601,486,5221,578,864 4.4%1.6%10.4%6.2%
4Hapag-Lloyd *2www.hapag-lloyd.comHamburg; Piscataway, NJ8.5%1,048,7761,306,9591,321,8721,405,9461,443,345 37.6%10.4%9.2%2.7%
5Evergreen Linewww.evergreen-line.comTaipei; Jersey City, NJ8.1%1,075,1871,187,1811,258,4721,289,1211,378,426 28.2%16.1%9.5%6.9%
 JOC Top 5 US import carriers51.1%6,906,4337,539,8727,745,8928,024,8408,666,091 25.5%14.9%11.9%8.0%
 JOC Top 5 US import carriers' market share 48.4%49.8%49.3%49.9%51.1%     
6Cosco *3en.coscoshipping.comShanghai; Secaucus, NJ7.6%1,245,2171,258,9361,335,2331,209,1651,286,776 3.3%2.2%-3.6%6.4%
7OOCL *3www.oocl.comHong Kong; Salt Lake City5.2%563,530615,709623,569704,521879,670 56.1%42.9%41.1%24.9%
8NYK Line *4www.nykline.comTokyo; Secaucus, NJ4.5%538,907607,181615,756629,537765,087 42.0%26.0%24.3%21.5%
9"K" Line *4www.kline.comTokyo; Richmond, Va.4.5%596,582634,744701,520713,606755,648 26.7%19.0%7.7%5.9%
10Hyundai Merchant Marinewww.hmm21.comSeoul; Irving, Texas4.2%644,479635,943554,536540,606712,048 10.5%12.0%28.4%31.7%
11Yang Ming; Newark, NJ4.1%540,846584,854627,381636,578692,110 28.0%18.3%10.3%8.7%
12MOL *4www.molpower.comTokyo; Lombard, Ill.4.0%525,057575,099550,577554,451672,504 28.1%16.9%22.1%21.3%
13Hamburg Süd/CCNI *; Morristown, NJ2.6%267,124280,496386,692454,757435,342 63.0%55.2%12.6%-4.3%
14Zim Integrated Shipping Serviceswww.zim.comHaifa; Norfolk, Va.2.3%235,861273,644348,879355,688384,560 63.0%40.5%10.2%8.1%
15Dole Ocean Cargo Expresswww.doleoceancargo.comJacksonville, Fla.1.1%178,778172,325174,961189,917185,754 3.9%7.8%6.2%-2.2%
16Pacific International Singapore, Long Beach, Ca.1.0%87,03888,52077,160111,224170,810 96.2%93.0%121.4%53.6%
17Seaboard Marinewww.seaboardmarine.comMiami0.9%127,789112,054145,520145,042152,167 19.1%35.8%4.6%4.9% Jacksonville, Fla.0.9%131,036136,419146,932142,347144,995 10.7%6.3%-1.3%1.9%
19SM Lineswww.smlines.comSeoul0.7%    115,939     
20Wan Hai Lineswww.wanhaiusa.comTaipei; Phoenix, Ariz.0.7%70,14065,29594,657104,200112,445 60.3%72.2%18.8%7.9%
21SeaLandwww.sealand.comCopenhagen; Miramar, Fla.0.6%  51,380105,068109,041   112.2%3.8%
22Great White Fleetwww.greatwhitefleet.comAntwerp; Cincinnati0.6%133,040139,765115,411111,058107,133 -19.5%-23.3%-7.2%-3.5%
23Network Shippingwww.freshdelmonte.comCoral Gables, Fla.0.5%41,11847,52853,64154,38686,066 109.3%81.1%60.4%58.3%
24Matsonwww.matson.comOakland0.5%81,96883,01284,22473,11985,620 4.5%3.1%1.7%17.1%
25ACL/Grimaldiwww.aclcargo.comwww.grimaldi.napoli.itNaples; Westfield, NJ0.5%62,83556,33355,46665,08476,423 21.6%35.7%37.8%17.4%
26Independent Container Linewww.icl-ltd.comAntwerp; Richmond, Va.0.4%57,47261,75068,11863,77268,818 19.7%11.4%1.0%7.9%
27Turkon Linewww.turkonamerica.comIstanbul; Secaucus, NJ0.2%23,84423,44027,21624,53432,426 36.0%38.3%19.1%32.2%
28TOTE Maritimewww.totemaritime.comJacksonville, Fla.0.2%23,40822,41625,71226,89229,555 26.3%31.8%14.9%9.9%
29Tropical Shippingwww.tropical.comRiviera Beach, Fla.0.2%30,53934,89031,25628,15429,460 -3.5%-15.6%-5.7%4.6%
30Westwood Shippingwww.wsl.comPuyallup, Wash.0.2%24,14625,22931,86125,61627,730 14.8%9.9%-13.0%8.3%
31King Ocean Serviceswww.kingocean.comDoral, Fla.0.2%20,26824,45220,49124,08026,830 32.4%9.7%30.9%11.4%
32Agriculture Investment Export Incwww.solgroup-marketing.comTegucigalpa, Honduras; Port Everglades0.1%16,19314,07712,56319,78420,241 25.0%43.8%61.1%2.3%
33Linea Peninsularwww.lineaships.comPanama City, Fla.0.1%14,41513,24712,58712,58115,941 10.6%20.3%26.6%26.7%
34Seth Shipping  0.1%6,60517,54822,09323,97814,786 123.9%-15.7%-33.1%-38.3%
35Trailer Bridgewww.trailerbridge.comJacksonville, Fla.0.1%16,15214,19716,45618,78614,010 -13.3%-1.3%-14.9%-25.4%
36Marine Express Inc.www.marinexpressinc.comMayaguez, Puerto Rico0.1%9,16110,86010,6969,7659,808 7.1%-9.7%-8.3%0.4%
37Spliethoff Transportwww.spliethoff.comAmsterdam; Cleveland0.0%6,1226,0927,3916,6336,766 10.5%11.1%-8.5%2.0%
38Antillean Lineswww.antillean.comMiami0.0%7,2945,8055,0765,6636,297 -13.7%8.5%24.1%11.2%
39Eimskipwww.eimskip.comReykjavik; Virginia Beach0.0%3,6143,6344,3686,0146,111 69.1%68.2%39.9%1.6%
40Atlantic Ro-Ro Carrierswww.cisnav.comMontreal; Hoboken, NJ0.0%4,0415,3977,1405,9835,563 37.7%3.1%-22.1%-7.0%
 TOTAL JOC TOP 40 US IMPORT CARRIERS99.6%13,241,052 14,190,767 14,792,414 15,227,430 16,910,572  27.7%19.2%14.3%11.1%
 TOTAL ALL US IMPORT CARRIERS100.0%14,255,33215,154,86615,727,42616,088,34316,975,029 19.1%12.0%7.9%5.5%
 MARKET SHARE OF ALL JOC TOP 40 US IMPORT CARRIERS 92.9%93.6%94.1%94.6%99.6%     
1* Maersk Line is in the process of merging with Hamburg Süd.
2* Hapag-Lloyd closed merger with UASC in May.
3* Cosco Shipping parent company China Cosco Shipping Group is acquiring OOCL.
4* Japan’s Big Three to launch merged container operations in April 2018.



Rankings of the JOC Top 40 container carriers in US export trade lanes
US EXPORTS, January-September 2017 versus January-September 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 in laden TEU*
The JOC Top 40 container carriers in the US export trade carried 99.7 percent of the 9.2 million TEU in the overall US export trade during the first nine months of 2016, increasing 3.4 percent year over year, and 2.8 percent above the same period in 2013. The JOC Top 5 carriers garnered 50.1 percent of the US export trade lane, or 4.6 million TEU, during the first nine months of 2016, inching up 0.8 percent year over year, but falling 1.3 percent below the same period in 2013.
 January-SEPTEMBER US IMPORTS Percent Volume Change
in Jan.-September 2017
US Headquarters
2017 Market Share20132014201520162017 FROM
1CMA CGM/; www.apl.comMarseille; Norfolk, Va. Singapore; Scottsdale, Ariz.12.9%1,193,2071,208,6131,136,8941,171,0311,187,975 -0.4%-1.7%4.5%1.4%
2MSCwww.mscgva.chGeneva; New York12.7%1,166,1001,100,0221,099,0621,084,7471,166,225 0.0%6.0%6.1%7.5%
3Maersk Line *1www.maerskline.comCopenhagen; Florham Park, NJ9.7%938,9351,012,914804,670959,943897,260 -4.6%-11.4%11.5%-6.5%
4Hapag-Lloyd *2www.hapag-lloyd.comHamburg; Piscataway, NJ8.1%797,258854,841788,009789,140746,849 -6.7%-12.6%-5.2%-5.4%
5Evergreen Linewww.evergreen-line.comTaipei; Jersey City, NJ6.7%578,444574,445579,581572,825616,295 6.1%7.3%6.3%7.6%
 JOC Top 5 US export carriers50.1%4,673,9444,750,8354,408,2164,577,6854,614,603 -1.3%-2.9%4.7%0.8%
 JOC Top 5 US export carriers' market share 49.0%50.2%48.6%49.6%50.1%     
6OOCL *3www.oocl.comHong Kong; Salt Lake City5.1%403,288406,776392,421458,634466,908 13.6%14.8%19.0%1.8%
7NYK Line *4www.nykline.comTokyo; Secaucus, NJ4.8%335,089388,815441,125406,330444,092 24.5%14.2%0.7%9.3%
8Cosco *3en.coscoshipping.comShanghai; Secaucus, NJ4.7%510,994481,774375,339333,832429,764 -18.9%-10.8%14.5%28.7%
9Hyundai Merchant Marinewww.hmm21.comSeoul; Irving, Texas3.9%390,642343,017281,212263,556355,126 -10.0%3.5%26.3%34.7%
10MOL *4www.molpower.comTokyo; Lombard, Ill.3.9%269,581291,281285,776311,753354,896 24.0%21.8%24.2%13.8%
11Yang Ming Line *; Newark, NJ3.8%315,830305,333283,336304,774351,358 10.1%15.1%24.0%15.3%
12Hamburg Süd/CCNI *; Morristown, NJ3.5%331,682323,519313,446330,721320,229 -3.6%-1.0%2.2%-3.2%
13"K" Line *4www.kline.comTokyo; Richmond, Va.3.2%298,177301,085312,605313,771296,377 -0.6%-1.6%-5.2%-5.5%
14Seaboard Marinewww.seaboardmarine.comMiami2.7%224,650222,964237,254238,297246,254 8.8%10.4%3.8%3.3% Jacksonville, Fla.2.6%265,358254,945287,608256,644243,052 -9.2%-4.7%-15.5%-5.3%
16Zim Integrated Shipping Serviceswww.zim.comHaifa; Norfolk, Va.2.0%189,276164,777194,456200,098182,564 -3.7%10.8%-6.1%-8.8%
17TOTE Maritimewww.totemaritime.comJacksonville, Fla.1.4%82,97580,932116,190128,375129,603 36.0%60.1%11.5%1.0%
18SeaLandwww.sealand.comCopenhagen; Miramar, Fla.1.1%  63,703116,650105,582   65.7%-9.5%
19Tropical Shippingwww.tropical.comRiviera Beach, Fla.1.1%87,15388,18996,03092,35197,405 10.5%10.5%1.4%5.5%
20ACL/Grimaldiwww.aclcargo.comwww.grimaldi.napoli.itNaples; Westfield, NJ0.7%59,88855,20955,47053,07064,422 7.0%16.7%16.1%21.4%
21King Ocean Serviceswww.kingocean.comDoral, Fla.0.7%59,24462,53865,46165,22663,403 6.6%1.4%-3.1%-2.8%
22Great White Fleetwww.greatwhitefleet.comAntwerp; Cincinnati0.6%60,27659,74665,64762,69756,263 -7.1%-5.8%-14.3%-10.3%
23Trailer Bridgewww.trailerbridge.comJacksonville, Fla.0.5%50,44240,09254,48748,02950,258 -0.4%25.4%-7.8%4.6%
24Independent Container Linewww.icl-ltd.comAntwerp; Richmond, Va.0.5%46,73046,94948,31948,18645,170 -3.5%-3.8%-6.5%-6.3%
25Dole Ocean Cargo Expresswww.doleoceancargo.comJacksonville, Fla.0.5%39,69136,39545,13338,26744,759 11.3%23.0%-0.8%17.0%
26Matsonwww.matson.comOakland0.4%42,44641,37240,45742,87137,797 -12.3%-8.6%-6.6%-11.8%
27Pacific International Singapore, Long Beach, Ca.0.3%36,64937,71233,79043,49630,224 -21.3%-19.9%-10.6%-30.5%
28Turkon Linewww.turkonamerica.comIstanbul; Secaucus, NJ0.3%31,14728,66924,93423,78524,558 -26.8%-14.3%-1.5%3.3%
29SM Lineswww.smlines.comSeoul0.2%    19,957     
30Wan Hai Lineswww.wanhaiusa.comTaipei; Phoenix, Ariz.0.2%17,56514,37512,16421,08517,766 1.1%23.6%46.1%-15.7%
31Antillean Lineswww.antillean.comMiami0.2%17,29015,86315,31016,83417,692 2.3%11.5%15.6%5.1%
32Hybur Shippingwww.hydeshipping.comCayman Islands; Port Everglades0.2%12,20310,87814,58317,08415,130 19.3%39.1%3.8%-11.4%
33Seacor Island Lineswww.seacorislandlines.comFort Lauderdale0.2%12,26813,93313,93717,12715,109 18.8%8.4%8.4%-11.8%
34Westwood Shippingwww.wsl.comPuyallup, Wash.0.2%14,07315,01714,63113,73514,439 2.5%-3.8%-1.3%5.1%
35Linea Peninsularwww.lineaships.comPanama City, Fla.0.1%16,6079,35611,7089,1488,064 -105.9%-13.8%-31.1%-11.8%
36Network Shippingwww.freshdelmonte.comCoral Gables, Fla.0.1%11,4118,1318,0619,2847,198 -58.5%-11.5%-10.7%-22.5%
37Bermuda Container Linewww.neptunebermuda.comHamilton, Bermuda; Newark, NJ0.1%5,2725,2445,6405,4856,550 19.5%24.9%16.1%19.4%
38Swire Shipping/China Navigationwww.swireshipping.comSingapore; Vancouver, BC0.1%4,7555,3967,4687,6835,264 9.7%-2.5%-29.5%-31.5%
39Intermarinewww.intermarine.comHouston, Texas0.0%9,5967,5956,9072,8852,312 -315.0%-69.6%-66.5%-19.9%
40Bahriwww.bahri.saRiyadh0.0%2,7902,4572,2271,6111,197 -133.0%-51.3%-46.2%-25.7%
 TOTAL JOC TOP 40 US EXPORT CARRIERS 8,928,9808,921,1688,635,0518,881,0609,185,345 2.8%3.0%6.4%3.4%
 TOTAL ALL US EXPORT CARRIERS 9,546,9289,455,8699,067,0719,225,8629,216,689 -3.6%-2.5%1.7%-0.1%
 MARKET SHARE OF ALL JOC TOP 40 US EXPORT CARRIERS 93.5%94.3%95.2%96.3%99.7%     
1* Maersk Line is in the process of merging with Hamburg Süd.
2* Hapag-Lloyd closed merger with UASC in May.
3* Cosco Shipping parent company China Cosco Shipping Group is acquiring OOCL.
4* Japan’s Big Three to launch merged container operations in April 2018.



Contact Dustin Braden at and follow him on Twitter: @dustin_joc.


Dear Sir,

Could you please provide me with the data of Top 40 container carriers in US export and inport in 2018?