The ten biggest shipping companies in 2020

19 October 2020 (Last Updated October 26th, 2020 07:23)

The slowdown in manufacturing and export orders worldwide has resulted in a moderate container trade growth in 2019, while the Covid-19 pandemic further impacted the global demand in 2020. Ship Technology lists the ten biggest shipping companies based on their total twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity in 2019.

The ten biggest shipping companies in 2020
The slowdown in manufacturing and export orders worldwide has resulted in a moderate container trade growth in 2019. Credit: Avigator Fortuner/Shutterstock.

The slowdown in manufacturing and export orders worldwide has resulted in a moderate container trade growth in 2019, while the Covid-19 pandemic further impacted the global demand in 2020.

Ship Technology lists the ten biggest shipping companies based on their total twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity in 2020.

Biggest shipping companies: Top ten by TEU capacity

1. P. Moller–Maersk – 4.1m TEU

2. Mediterranean Shipping Company – 3.8m TEU

3. COSCO Shipping Lines – 3.1m TEU

4. CMA CGM Group – 2.7m TEU

5. Hapag-Lloyd – 1.7m TEU

6. Ocean Network Express – 1.5m TEU

7. Evergreen Line – 1.2m TEU

8. Orient Overseas Container Line – 733,580 TEU

9. HMM – 728,416 TEU

10. Yang Ming – 616,000 TEU

1.  A.P. Moller-Maersk – 4.1m TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
A.P. Moller-Maersk is the world’s largest integrated shipping company based in Denmark. Credit: Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock.

A.P. Moller-Maersk is the world’s largest integrated shipping company with a total capacity of 4.1m TEU. It operates a fleet of 708 vessels including 307 own container vessels and 401 chartered container vessels as of December 2019.

The danish company also plans to add 11 401m-long container ships with 19,630 TEU capacity each to its fleet by 2021. The new ships will be the largest container vessels in the Maersk fleet. Two 18,500 TEU Triple-E vessels and seven Baltic feeder vessels will also join the Maersk fleet.

The company operates diverse business segments, including the ocean, logistics, terminals and towage, manufacturing and others. The company’s digital container logistics platform TradeLens serves 98 directly integrated ports and terminals.

2. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) – 3.8m TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
MSC has a fleet of 560 vessels carrying 21 million TEUs annually. Credit: Catstyecam/Shutterstock.

Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) container ship fleet has a total intake capacity of 3.8m TEU. The company operates a fleet of 560 cargo vessels, carrying 21m TEUs annually.

MSC has a network of 493 offices and employs 70,000 people across 155 countries, while its fleet calls at more than 500 ports worldwide.

The company operates a modern fleet comprising Gulsan Class vessels, a new class of sustainable container ship, to minimise the environmental impact. The vessel design offers the lowest carbon footprint at 7.49gm of CO₂ emissions to move 1t of cargo to one nautical mile.

3. China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) Shipping Lines – 3.1mTEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
COSCO Shipping operates 401 international and domestic shipping routes across 105 countries. Credit: MartinLueke/Shutterstock.

China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) Shipping Lines, a fully owned subsidiary of China’s state-owned shipping giant COSCO SHIPPING Holding, operates 507 container vessels with a combined capacity of approximately 3.1m TEU.

COSCO’s fleet serves 401 international and domestic shipping routes and calls in 356 ports in 105 countries. The company operates a total of 235 corporate offices, including 97 domestic and 138 international offices.

COSCO SHIPPING Holding has stake in 59 terminals worldwide, including 51 container terminals. The annual throughput of its container terminals is approximately 126.8m TEU, making it the world’s leading ports operator.

4. CMA CGM Group – 2.7m TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
CMA CGM Group operates a fleet of 502 vessels with 2.7 million TEU capacity. Credit: Myriam Keogh/Shutterstock.

French container shipping company CMA CGM Group operates a fleet of 502 container vessels with a total capacity of 2.7m TEU.

The company inducted a 23,000 TEU container ship, CMA CGM JACQUES SAADE, named after its founder, Jacques Saadé, in September 2020. It is the first of nine vessels ordered by the company. JACQUES SAADE is the largest LNG-powered container ship in the world.

CMA CGM Group employs 110,000 people in 160 countries, and serves 420 commercial ports ensuring coverage to more than 80% of the ports worldwide.

5. Hapag-Lloyd – 1.7m TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
Hapag-Lloyd operates 392 sales offices in 129 countries worldwide. Credit: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock.

German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd operates a fleet of 248 vessels with a combined capacity of approximately 1.7m TEU. The company has a 7% market share of the total capacity of the global container ship fleet.

Hapag-Lloyd has ordered 77 container ships with a total of approximately 0.8m TEU transport capacity in 2019. The new vessels will be able to transport various types of cargo such as oversized, and dangerous goods.

Headquartered in Hamburg, the shipping line employs more than 13,000 personnel, and operates 392 sales offices in 129 countries worldwide.

6. Ocean Network Express (ONE) – 1.5m TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
ONE is the world’s sixth largest container carrier, operating a fleet of 224 vessels. Credit: ONE.

Ocean Network Express (ONE) operates a fleet of 224 vessels with the combined capacity of 1.5m TEU, making it the world’s sixth-largest container carrier.

ONE was established through the liner service integrations of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) in July 2017.

Headquartered in Singapore, the company employs 8,000 people worldwide and offers more than 130 services each week with coverage across 120 countries.

7. Evergreen Line – 1.2m TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
Evergreen received the delivery of 148 vessels with 1.06m TEU in 2019. Credit: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock.

Evergreen Line is a group of container shipping companies comprising Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan), Italia Marittima, Evergreen Marine (UK), Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong) and Evergreen Marine (Singapore).

The companies operate 333 vessels with a combined capacity of 1.2m TEU. Evergreen has built and chartered 20 12,000 TEU F-type vessels to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It ordered ten 23,000 TEU and four 1,800 TEU container vessels in 2019.

Evergreen Line employs more than 6,700 personnel and serves over 315 locations in Asia, America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Africa.

8. Orient Overseas Container Line – 733,580 TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
The average unit size of the OOCL fleet was 8,915 TEU by the end of 2019. Credit: OOCL.

OOCL is a Hong Kong-based integrated shipping company, specialised in refrigerated cargo. The OOCL fleet includes 104 vessels with a combined capacity of 733,520 TEU as of December 2019.

The average size of the OOCL fleet was 8,915 TEU, while the average age of its vessels was 9.77 years as of December 2019.

The company had not ordered new ships in 2019. However, it placed an order for five 23,000 TEU container ships in March 2020, which are expected to be delivered by 2023.

OOCL is a fully integrated logistics and containerised transportation services provider with operations across Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australasia.

9. HMM – 728,416 TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
The modern fleet of HMM features latest smart ship solutions. Credit: HMM.

HMM operates a fleet of 110 container vessels with a combined capacity of 728,416 TEU. It is the biggest Korean national containers carrier. The company has three container terminals.

The company is inducting a modern fleet of 12 24,000 TEU and eight 16,000 TEU container vessels equipped with latest smart ship solutions. Delivered between April and September 2020, the 24,000 TEU vessels are the largest container ships in the world. The 16,000 TEU vessels will enter service in 2021.

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, HMM is a global shipping and logistics company with more than 60 sea routes and 100 ports. It is one of the top five carriers operational in the trans-Pacific trade route.

10. Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation (Yang Ming) – 616,000 TEU

Top 10 Shipping Companies
Yang Ming operates a fleet of 95 vessels. Credit: Enrico Powell/Shutterstock.

Taiwanese container shipping company Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation (Yang Ming)  operates a fleet of 95 vessels with a combined capacity of 616,000 TEU.

The company started fleet optimisation by the addition of 14 11,000 TEU chartered vessels and 10 2,800 TEU self-owned newly built vessels in 2020. The new fleet with improved engine efficiency will improve the competitiveness of the company in the long-term.

Yang Ming provides container transportation and bulk transportation services as well as terminal and logistics services. It offers scheduled container transportation service across Asia, Europe, America, and Australia.