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 JOC.com.

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
OCEAN CARRIER* Website World,
US Headquarters
2017 Market Share 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017   FROM
2013
FROM
2014
FROM
2015
FROM
2016
1 CMA CGM/APL www.cma-cgm.com; www.apl.com Marseille; Norfolk, Va. Singapore; Scottsdale, Ariz. 12.8% 1,908,774 1,953,790 2,005,361 2,034,552 2,171,325   13.8% 11.1% 8.3% 6.7%
2 MSC www.mscgva.ch Geneva; New York 12.3% 1,361,814 1,537,526 1,729,727 1,808,699 2,094,132   53.8% 36.2% 21.1% 15.8%
3 Maersk Line *1 www.maerskline.com Copenhagen; Florham Park, NJ 9.3% 1,511,882 1,554,416 1,430,460 1,486,522 1,578,864   4.4% 1.6% 10.4% 6.2%
4 Hapag-Lloyd *2 www.hapag-lloyd.com Hamburg; Piscataway, NJ 8.5% 1,048,776 1,306,959 1,321,872 1,405,946 1,443,345   37.6% 10.4% 9.2% 2.7%
5 Evergreen Line www.evergreen-line.com Taipei; Jersey City, NJ 8.1% 1,075,187 1,187,181 1,258,472 1,289,121 1,378,426   28.2% 16.1% 9.5% 6.9%
  JOC Top 5 US import carriers 51.1% 6,906,433 7,539,872 7,745,892 8,024,840 8,666,091   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%          
6 Cosco *3 en.coscoshipping.com Shanghai; Secaucus, NJ 7.6% 1,245,217 1,258,936 1,335,233 1,209,165 1,286,776   3.3% 2.2% -3.6% 6.4%
7 OOCL *3 www.oocl.com Hong Kong; Salt Lake City 5.2% 563,530 615,709 623,569 704,521 879,670   56.1% 42.9% 41.1% 24.9%
8 NYK Line *4 www.nykline.com Tokyo; Secaucus, NJ 4.5% 538,907 607,181 615,756 629,537 765,087   42.0% 26.0% 24.3% 21.5%
9 "K" Line *4 www.kline.com Tokyo; Richmond, Va. 4.5% 596,582 634,744 701,520 713,606 755,648   26.7% 19.0% 7.7% 5.9%
10 Hyundai Merchant Marine www.hmm21.com Seoul; Irving, Texas 4.2% 644,479 635,943 554,536 540,606 712,048   10.5% 12.0% 28.4% 31.7%
11 Yang Ming Line www.yangming.com.tw Keelung; Newark, NJ 4.1% 540,846 584,854 627,381 636,578 692,110   28.0% 18.3% 10.3% 8.7%
12 MOL *4 www.molpower.com Tokyo; Lombard, Ill. 4.0% 525,057 575,099 550,577 554,451 672,504   28.1% 16.9% 22.1% 21.3%
13 Hamburg Süd/CCNI *1 www.hamburg-sued.comwww.ccni.cl Hamburg; Morristown, NJ 2.6% 267,124 280,496 386,692 454,757 435,342   63.0% 55.2% 12.6% -4.3%
14 Zim Integrated Shipping Services www.zim.com Haifa; Norfolk, Va. 2.3% 235,861 273,644 348,879 355,688 384,560   63.0% 40.5% 10.2% 8.1%
15 Dole Ocean Cargo Express www.doleoceancargo.com Jacksonville, Fla. 1.1% 178,778 172,325 174,961 189,917 185,754   3.9% 7.8% 6.2% -2.2%
16 Pacific International Lines www.pilship.com Singapore, Long Beach, Ca. 1.0% 87,038 88,520 77,160 111,224 170,810   96.2% 93.0% 121.4% 53.6%
17 Seaboard Marine www.seaboardmarine.com Miami 0.9% 127,789 112,054 145,520 145,042 152,167   19.1% 35.8% 4.6% 4.9%
18 Crowley www.crowley.com Jacksonville, Fla. 0.9% 131,036 136,419 146,932 142,347 144,995   10.7% 6.3% -1.3% 1.9%
19 SM Lines www.smlines.com Seoul 0.7%         115,939          
20 Wan Hai Lines www.wanhaiusa.com Taipei; Phoenix, Ariz. 0.7% 70,140 65,295 94,657 104,200 112,445   60.3% 72.2% 18.8% 7.9%
21 SeaLand www.sealand.com Copenhagen; Miramar, Fla. 0.6%     51,380 105,068 109,041       112.2% 3.8%
22 Great White Fleet www.greatwhitefleet.com Antwerp; Cincinnati 0.6% 133,040 139,765 115,411 111,058 107,133   -19.5% -23.3% -7.2% -3.5%
23 Network Shipping www.freshdelmonte.com Coral Gables, Fla. 0.5% 41,118 47,528 53,641 54,386 86,066   109.3% 81.1% 60.4% 58.3%
24 Matson www.matson.com Oakland 0.5% 81,968 83,012 84,224 73,119 85,620   4.5% 3.1% 1.7% 17.1%
25 ACL/Grimaldi www.aclcargo.comwww.grimaldi.napoli.it Naples; Westfield, NJ 0.5% 62,835 56,333 55,466 65,084 76,423   21.6% 35.7% 37.8% 17.4%
26 Independent Container Line www.icl-ltd.com Antwerp; Richmond, Va. 0.4% 57,472 61,750 68,118 63,772 68,818   19.7% 11.4% 1.0% 7.9%
27 Turkon Line www.turkonamerica.com Istanbul; Secaucus, NJ 0.2% 23,844 23,440 27,216 24,534 32,426   36.0% 38.3% 19.1% 32.2%
28 TOTE Maritime www.totemaritime.com Jacksonville, Fla. 0.2% 23,408 22,416 25,712 26,892 29,555   26.3% 31.8% 14.9% 9.9%
29 Tropical Shipping www.tropical.com Riviera Beach, Fla. 0.2% 30,539 34,890 31,256 28,154 29,460   -3.5% -15.6% -5.7% 4.6%
30 Westwood Shipping www.wsl.com Puyallup, Wash. 0.2% 24,146 25,229 31,861 25,616 27,730   14.8% 9.9% -13.0% 8.3%
31 King Ocean Services www.kingocean.com Doral, Fla. 0.2% 20,268 24,452 20,491 24,080 26,830   32.4% 9.7% 30.9% 11.4%
32 Agriculture Investment Export Inc www.solgroup-marketing.com Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Port Everglades 0.1% 16,193 14,077 12,563 19,784 20,241   25.0% 43.8% 61.1% 2.3%
33 Linea Peninsular www.lineaships.com Panama City, Fla. 0.1% 14,415 13,247 12,587 12,581 15,941   10.6% 20.3% 26.6% 26.7%
34 Seth Shipping     0.1% 6,605 17,548 22,093 23,978 14,786   123.9% -15.7% -33.1% -38.3%
35 Trailer Bridge www.trailerbridge.com Jacksonville, Fla. 0.1% 16,152 14,197 16,456 18,786 14,010   -13.3% -1.3% -14.9% -25.4%
36 Marine Express Inc. www.marinexpressinc.com Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 0.1% 9,161 10,860 10,696 9,765 9,808   7.1% -9.7% -8.3% 0.4%
37 Spliethoff Transport www.spliethoff.com Amsterdam; Cleveland 0.0% 6,122 6,092 7,391 6,633 6,766   10.5% 11.1% -8.5% 2.0%
38 Antillean Lines www.antillean.com Miami 0.0% 7,294 5,805 5,076 5,663 6,297   -13.7% 8.5% 24.1% 11.2%
39 Eimskip www.eimskip.com Reykjavik; Virginia Beach 0.0% 3,614 3,634 4,368 6,014 6,111   69.1% 68.2% 39.9% 1.6%
40 Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers www.cisnav.com Montreal; Hoboken, NJ 0.0% 4,041 5,397 7,140 5,983 5,563   37.7% 3.1% -22.1% -7.0%
  TOTAL JOC TOP 40 US IMPORT CARRIERS 99.6% 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 CARRIERS 100.0% 14,255,332 15,154,866 15,727,426 16,088,343 16,975,029   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
OCEAN CARRIER* Website World,
US Headquarters
2017 Market Share 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017   FROM
2013
FROM
2014
FROM
2015
FROM
2016
1 CMA CGM/APL www.cma-cgm.com; www.apl.com Marseille; Norfolk, Va. Singapore; Scottsdale, Ariz. 12.9% 1,193,207 1,208,613 1,136,894 1,171,031 1,187,975   -0.4% -1.7% 4.5% 1.4%
2 MSC www.mscgva.ch Geneva; New York 12.7% 1,166,100 1,100,022 1,099,062 1,084,747 1,166,225   0.0% 6.0% 6.1% 7.5%
3 Maersk Line *1 www.maerskline.com Copenhagen; Florham Park, NJ 9.7% 938,935 1,012,914 804,670 959,943 897,260   -4.6% -11.4% 11.5% -6.5%
4 Hapag-Lloyd *2 www.hapag-lloyd.com Hamburg; Piscataway, NJ 8.1% 797,258 854,841 788,009 789,140 746,849   -6.7% -12.6% -5.2% -5.4%
5 Evergreen Line www.evergreen-line.com Taipei; Jersey City, NJ 6.7% 578,444 574,445 579,581 572,825 616,295   6.1% 7.3% 6.3% 7.6%
  JOC Top 5 US export carriers 50.1% 4,673,944 4,750,835 4,408,216 4,577,685 4,614,603   -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%          
6 OOCL *3 www.oocl.com Hong Kong; Salt Lake City 5.1% 403,288 406,776 392,421 458,634 466,908   13.6% 14.8% 19.0% 1.8%
7 NYK Line *4 www.nykline.com Tokyo; Secaucus, NJ 4.8% 335,089 388,815 441,125 406,330 444,092   24.5% 14.2% 0.7% 9.3%
8 Cosco *3 en.coscoshipping.com Shanghai; Secaucus, NJ 4.7% 510,994 481,774 375,339 333,832 429,764   -18.9% -10.8% 14.5% 28.7%
9 Hyundai Merchant Marine www.hmm21.com Seoul; Irving, Texas 3.9% 390,642 343,017 281,212 263,556 355,126   -10.0% 3.5% 26.3% 34.7%
10 MOL *4 www.molpower.com Tokyo; Lombard, Ill. 3.9% 269,581 291,281 285,776 311,753 354,896   24.0% 21.8% 24.2% 13.8%
11 Yang Ming Line *4 www.yangming.com.tw Keelung; Newark, NJ 3.8% 315,830 305,333 283,336 304,774 351,358   10.1% 15.1% 24.0% 15.3%
12 Hamburg Süd/CCNI *1 www.hamburg-sued.comwww.ccni.cl Hamburg; Morristown, NJ 3.5% 331,682 323,519 313,446 330,721 320,229   -3.6% -1.0% 2.2% -3.2%
13 "K" Line *4 www.kline.com Tokyo; Richmond, Va. 3.2% 298,177 301,085 312,605 313,771 296,377   -0.6% -1.6% -5.2% -5.5%
14 Seaboard Marine www.seaboardmarine.com Miami 2.7% 224,650 222,964 237,254 238,297 246,254   8.8% 10.4% 3.8% 3.3%
15 Crowley www.crowley.com Jacksonville, Fla. 2.6% 265,358 254,945 287,608 256,644 243,052   -9.2% -4.7% -15.5% -5.3%
16 Zim Integrated Shipping Services www.zim.com Haifa; Norfolk, Va. 2.0% 189,276 164,777 194,456 200,098 182,564   -3.7% 10.8% -6.1% -8.8%
17 TOTE Maritime www.totemaritime.com Jacksonville, Fla. 1.4% 82,975 80,932 116,190 128,375 129,603   36.0% 60.1% 11.5% 1.0%
18 SeaLand www.sealand.com Copenhagen; Miramar, Fla. 1.1%     63,703 116,650 105,582       65.7% -9.5%
19 Tropical Shipping www.tropical.com Riviera Beach, Fla. 1.1% 87,153 88,189 96,030 92,351 97,405   10.5% 10.5% 1.4% 5.5%
20 ACL/Grimaldi www.aclcargo.comwww.grimaldi.napoli.it Naples; Westfield, NJ 0.7% 59,888 55,209 55,470 53,070 64,422   7.0% 16.7% 16.1% 21.4%
21 King Ocean Services www.kingocean.com Doral, Fla. 0.7% 59,244 62,538 65,461 65,226 63,403   6.6% 1.4% -3.1% -2.8%
22 Great White Fleet www.greatwhitefleet.com Antwerp; Cincinnati 0.6% 60,276 59,746 65,647 62,697 56,263   -7.1% -5.8% -14.3% -10.3%
23 Trailer Bridge www.trailerbridge.com Jacksonville, Fla. 0.5% 50,442 40,092 54,487 48,029 50,258   -0.4% 25.4% -7.8% 4.6%
24 Independent Container Line www.icl-ltd.com Antwerp; Richmond, Va. 0.5% 46,730 46,949 48,319 48,186 45,170   -3.5% -3.8% -6.5% -6.3%
25 Dole Ocean Cargo Express www.doleoceancargo.com Jacksonville, Fla. 0.5% 39,691 36,395 45,133 38,267 44,759   11.3% 23.0% -0.8% 17.0%
26 Matson www.matson.com Oakland 0.4% 42,446 41,372 40,457 42,871 37,797   -12.3% -8.6% -6.6% -11.8%
27 Pacific International Lines www.pilship.com Singapore, Long Beach, Ca. 0.3% 36,649 37,712 33,790 43,496 30,224   -21.3% -19.9% -10.6% -30.5%
28 Turkon Line www.turkonamerica.com Istanbul; Secaucus, NJ 0.3% 31,147 28,669 24,934 23,785 24,558   -26.8% -14.3% -1.5% 3.3%
29 SM Lines www.smlines.com Seoul 0.2%         19,957          
30 Wan Hai Lines www.wanhaiusa.com Taipei; Phoenix, Ariz. 0.2% 17,565 14,375 12,164 21,085 17,766   1.1% 23.6% 46.1% -15.7%
31 Antillean Lines www.antillean.com Miami 0.2% 17,290 15,863 15,310 16,834 17,692   2.3% 11.5% 15.6% 5.1%
32 Hybur Shipping www.hydeshipping.com Cayman Islands; Port Everglades 0.2% 12,203 10,878 14,583 17,084 15,130   19.3% 39.1% 3.8% -11.4%
33 Seacor Island Lines www.seacorislandlines.com Fort Lauderdale 0.2% 12,268 13,933 13,937 17,127 15,109   18.8% 8.4% 8.4% -11.8%
34 Westwood Shipping www.wsl.com Puyallup, Wash. 0.2% 14,073 15,017 14,631 13,735 14,439   2.5% -3.8% -1.3% 5.1%
35 Linea Peninsular www.lineaships.com Panama City, Fla. 0.1% 16,607 9,356 11,708 9,148 8,064   -105.9% -13.8% -31.1% -11.8%
36 Network Shipping www.freshdelmonte.com Coral Gables, Fla. 0.1% 11,411 8,131 8,061 9,284 7,198   -58.5% -11.5% -10.7% -22.5%
37 Bermuda Container Line www.neptunebermuda.com Hamilton, Bermuda; Newark, NJ 0.1% 5,272 5,244 5,640 5,485 6,550   19.5% 24.9% 16.1% 19.4%
38 Swire Shipping/China Navigation www.swireshipping.com Singapore; Vancouver, BC 0.1% 4,755 5,396 7,468 7,683 5,264   9.7% -2.5% -29.5% -31.5%
39 Intermarine www.intermarine.com Houston, Texas 0.0% 9,596 7,595 6,907 2,885 2,312   -315.0% -69.6% -66.5% -19.9%
40 Bahri www.bahri.sa Riyadh 0.0% 2,790 2,457 2,227 1,611 1,197   -133.0% -51.3% -46.2% -25.7%
  TOTAL JOC TOP 40 US EXPORT CARRIERS   8,928,980 8,921,168 8,635,051 8,881,060 9,185,345   2.8% 3.0% 6.4% 3.4%
  TOTAL ALL US EXPORT CARRIERS   9,546,928 9,455,869 9,067,071 9,225,862 9,216,689   -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 dustin.braden@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @dustin_joc.