MSC Set to Surge: Sea-Intelligence Predicts Major Shifts in Carrier Rankings


Sea-Intelligence, a leading maritime analysis firm, has revealed insights into the complexities of projecting future fleet sizes for shipping lines. Traditionally, the method involves simply adding the current fleet size to the size of the orderbook. However, this approach fails to capture the multifaceted strategies employed by shipping lines, such as second-hand tonnage trading and adjustments in the use of chartered vessels.

A more comprehensive approach, advocated by Sea-Intelligence, entails analyzing the fleet adjustment strategies of individual shipping lines in recent years. By understanding how each carrier manages its second-hand tonnage and their preference for owned versus chartered vessels, customers can better anticipate future fleet sizes.

“If we were to use the more simplistic approach to predict the current fleet sizes, based on the actual fleet and orderbook from two years ago, for 8 of the 10 largest carriers, the actualised fleet growth turns out to be less than what the simplistic projection would suggest,” explains Alan Muprhy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence.

“This implies that the delivery of newbuilds typically leads most carriers to also shed capacity, by selling owned tonnage in the second-hand market or redelivering charter tonnage. Only MSC and ONE deviate from this, by also taking in additional tonnage,” adds Murphy.

Projections based on these insights indicate that MSC is poised to significantly expand its size advantage over CMA CGM, which is forecasted to surpass Maersk to become the second-largest carrier.

In addition, Hapag-Lloyd has recently unveiled its new 2030 strategy, with a primary focus on maintaining a position within the top-five carriers. However, achieving this goal will require a strategic shift compared to the past two years. Failure to do so could result in a sixth-place ranking behind ONE, underscoring the competitive dynamics within the industry.

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