Top 40 Container Carriers

Top 40 Container Carriers

The JOC regularly ranks the Top 40 container carriers in the US trade by import, export, and total volume using trade data from PIERS.

The list evolves each year, and reflects changes in the US economy and container trade, as carriers jostle for position and import and export volume rises or falls.

Top Five Ocean Carriers

The Top 5 US carriers are Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co., CMA CGM/APL, Hapag-Lloyd, and Evergreen Line. With the exception of Evergreen Line, the Top 5 US carriers are also in the Top 5 for global fleet operators. The carriers are organized into global vessel-sharing agreements. Those currently in effect are the 2M Alliance of MSC and Maersk, the Ocean Alliance of CMA CGM, APL, Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line, and OOCL, and the Transport High Efficiency (THE) Alliance of Ocean Network Express, Yang Ming Line, and Hapag-Lloyd.

Carriers have had to adjust to a new reality of growth following the Great Recession (2007 to 2009), when the GDP multiplier, which refers to the rate of global container trade growth as a multiple of global GDP expansion, fell from 2.2 to around 1.1.

This seismic shift occurred just as the industry was absorbing a surge of new capacity and carriers ordered and put into service mega-ships in excess of 20,000 TEU. That led to severe overcapacity that drove down rates and ate into carrier profitability and generated losses, culminating in the August 2016 collapse of Hanjin Shipping, which at the time was the world’s seventh-largest container line. 

Previous Ocean Carrier Rankings

Top 40 Container Carriers US Import and Export Trades, January-September 2017

Top 40 Container Carriers US Import and Export Trades, January-June 2017

Top 40 Container Carriers US Import and Export Trades, January-March 2017

Top 40 Container Carriers, US Import and Export Trades, January-December 2016

Top 40 Container Carriers US Import and Export Trades, January-September 2016

Top 40 Container Carriers US Import and Export Trades, January-June 2016

Top 40 Container Carriers US Import and Export Trades, January-March 2016

Top 40 Container Carriers, US Import and Export Trades, January-December 2015

Top 40 Container Carriers in US Export Trade, January-December 2014

Top 40 Container Carriers in US Import Trade, January-December 2014

Top 40 Container Carriers in US Export Trade, January-September 2014

Top 40 Container Carriers in US Import Trade, January-September 2014 

Top 40 Container Carriers in US Export Trade, 2013

Top 40 Container Carriers in US Import Trade, 2013

Top 40 Carriers in US Containerized Trade in the First Half of 2013

Top 40 Carriers in US Containerized Trade in 2012

Special Coverage

Initial integration problems of Ocean Network Express had an impact on the first-half share of US trade, both exports and imports, carried by the Top 5 US trade carriers.

News & Analysis

Rotterdam port.
15 Jan 2019
“If a carrier comes with a 30-day transit and they suddenly change to 40 days, we need to know about it one month in advance,” a shipper of medical products said.
Global trade and logistics technology.
14 Jan 2019
Shippers' conundrum: if carriers are poor at arriving on time, why do shippers believe those carriers will be better at providing data in a timely manner, much less a predictive one?
Low-Sulfur Fuel Regulation infographic.
11 Jan 2019
Bunker surcharges have been revised by carriers to mitigate the effect of the IMO sulfur cap of 0.5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2020.
Port of Oakland.
10 Jan 2019
If there was ever a year when the outlook for reliability in the system was more clouded, 2019 and into 2020 would take the prize.
DP World Santos.
08 Jan 2019
Shippers are concerned that they will pay for service consolidation.
port of Antwerp.
08 Jan 2019
Shippers can expect a far more aggressive approach to matching vessel supply with demand.

Commentary

Throwing more money at infrastructure, additional assets, and increasing freight rates won’t solve one of the industry’s biggest cost factors - the management of empty containers. There’s a better way.

More Commentary