MSC takes to the skies

Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), the world’s largest containerline, has joined its peers at the top of the liner rankings by going into the aviation business.

The Geneva-headquartered firm has debuted MSC Air Cargo, something that will take to the skies from early next year in response to customer demand, MSC said. The Aponte family firm had earlier this year also lodged a bid with Lufthansa to take over ITA, the Italian airline formerly known as Alitalia. The bid was rejected late last month.

Three major carriers are now competing to build the UPS for cargo

Other top lines such as CMA CGM and Maersk have created air cargo divisions during container shipping’s recent record earnings period.

MSC is leasing four Boeing 777-200F aircraft from Atlas Air to launch the new airline with Jannie Davel, formerly of Delta Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo and DHL, tapped to lead the business.

MSC CEO Soren Toft said: “This is our first step into this market and we plan to continue exploring various avenues to develop air cargo in a way that complements our core business of container shipping.”

Commenting via LinkedIn on the news of another carrier taking to the skies, Inna Kuznetsova, CEO of ToolsGroup, wrote: “So we will see three major carriers – Maersk, CMA, MSC – competing to build the UPS for cargo – full end to end solution with a better control over times / levels of service and as a result, better visibility.”

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. Interesting. They have a long way to go if they think that their ocean arrival performance will be acceptable on the air side. My air freight moves door to door is less time that their standard ocean delay nowadays.

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