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MSC outranks Maersk as apex shipping line: Alphaliner

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According to a recent survey published by Alphaliner, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has outranked the Danish carrier A.P. Moller Maersk as the world’s largest container line, in terms of capacity. The shipping pioneer Maersk has been the loftiest since a few decades, however, Geneva-based MSC fleet can now carry 4,284,728 standard 20-foot containers, 1,888 more than Maersk. MSC has 645 ships with a combined capacity of 4,284,728 TEU, compared to Maersk with 738 ships with 4,282,840 TEU in capacity.

MSC’s path to the number-one spot in liner shipping has been one of organic growth, whereas Maersk owes its top ranking to the takeover of Sealand (in 1999), P&O Nedlloyd (2005) and Hamburg Süd (2017).”


MSC Chief Executive Officer Soren Toft said that they have been functioning towards growth and profitability, rather than being numero-uno.

Maersk has often broken records by building the biggest ships and has recently invested in vessels that sail on carbon-neutral methanol. Lately, they have been focusing on growth in land-based logistics – eyeing higher profits – and have time and again mentioned that retaining the top spot isn’t important to the company. It still has the most capacity in terms of owned vessels: MSC has about 65% of its capacity from chartered ships whereas Maersk only has 42%.

Though there has been close competition lately between the two, Maersk and MSC still work together in areas such as a vessel-sharing partnership and a blockchain-based platform for sharing and streamlining shipping information.

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