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.
30 Jan 2019
The injection of vessels comes as demand growth of Asia-Europe westbound volume slows.
Port of Los Angeles.
30 Jan 2019
Container and chassis dwell times in Los Angeles-Long Beach edged lower in December.
Blockchain and container shipping.
29 Jan 2019
New research shows blockchain technology has a way to go before convincing the majority of enterprises of its near-term value.
CMA CGM.
28 Jan 2019
CEVA Logistics wants shareholders to bear in mind the benefits of its strategic partnership with CMA CGM and turn down a bid by the carrier, highlighting the growth inherent in the company.
Mundra Port.
24 Jan 2019
India relaxed cobotage rules in May to allow any ocean carrier to transport goods.
A container ship accepts fuel.
24 Jan 2019
This lack of clarity on future high- and low-sulfur fuel costs worries BCOs and NVOs as they enter the more critical second phase of negotiations in March.

Commentary

Three issues will have a major impact on the container shipping world for all stakeholders in 2019: trade squabbles, carrier capacity management, and low-sulfur fuel cost recovery.

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