ContainersFinance and Insurance

Container shipping lines smash profits made by Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google

Shipping, long castigated for its lack of appeal to millennials and Gen Z, has chalked up an impressive stat to give it some street cred to today’s college graduates. Liner shipping is now earning more dollars than many of the the best known names in Big Tech.

Liner veteran John McCown, who heads up Blue Alpha Capital in the US, has tallied liner shipping’s combined profits for the third quarter and put them in perspective by comparing them to the stars of the internet such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google who collectively are known by the acronym FANG.

It’s hard to recall any industry that has turned so sharply upward in its net financial performance

The $48.1bn in Q3 container shipping profits was almost 50% higher than total FANG profits and the 42.7% net income to revenue margin was almost three times higher. Compared to earnings behemoths Apple and Microsoft combined, container shipping industry profits were still almost 15% higher with a profit margin that was almost 30% higher underscoring just what a terrific, record year carriers have enjoyed, with the sector on track to post combined profits in the region of up $200bn.

“The hockey stick turn in the recent results of the container shipping industry is unparalleled in its own history. Indeed it’s hard to recall any industry that has turned so sharply upward in its net financial performance,” McCown stated in a new report issued over the weekend.

The extraordinary profits registered by global carriers this year – combined with a severe drop in schedule reliability – has attracted the ire of shippers with regulators in major economies scrutinising operations of carriers and the alliances that they are in.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Liner industry is not earning top dollars because of the amazing strategies thought out on CEO level which might attract younger generations, but because of a world disruption. If and when the world comes back to normal so will earnings.

  2. I have done the same research…….Containers are going old bro…..also ships…….should look for something else…..high time……

Back to top button