ContainersFinance and Insurance

Port congestion spurs liner share rally, large-caps proliferate

Port congestion is sending plenty of listed liners into large-cap territory. The number of publicly-listed container carriers with a valuation of more than $10bn has risen to six this week, with two more lines following closely behind, according to the latest data from Alphaliner.

The majority of container shares have risen between 15% and 40% since early July when the first week saw a general bottoming out in stock values after the previous slide.

Many container carriers have posted stunning results in recent weeks, hiking full year forecasts as the sector heads for another record year of earnings.

In order of largest market capitalisation, the six liner large-caps are Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, Cosco, Evergreen, Yang Ming and Wan Hai, with Alphaliner tipping South Korea’s HMM and Hong Kong-based SITC to join the ranks soon. Large-cap refers to a company with a market capitalisation value of more than $10bn.

Readers might be surprised to see Hapag-Lloyd’s market cap being 23% higher than second placed Maersk despite the fact that the Danish carrier’s fleet is 142% larger than its Hamburg rival. Alphaliner explained that this is down to Hapag-Lloyd’s closely held share ownership structure whereby its public free float represents just 3.6% of the total.

Prior to the pandemic, just two companies – Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd – qualified as large-cap companies.

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.
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