MSC topples Maersk at the top of the box rankings

For the first time in more than a quarter of a century Maersk is on track to lose its mantle as the world’s largest containerline.

Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), now run by former Maersk COO, Soren Toft, has been hoovering up secondhand tonnage in a massive way over the last six months. Combined with new orders for 24,000 teu ships, MSC is now set to overhaul its 2M partner, Maersk, at the top of the global rankings, according to updated data from Alphaliner.

In a report from last November Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence said that Maersk is pursuing a strategy focused on profitability rather than size.

“But ‘losing’ the #1 ranking spot, which the carrier has had for a quarter of a century, would still likely have some emotional impact in Copenhagen,” the analysts observed.

MSC became the world’s second largest carrier in 2004, and since then, it and Maersk have continued to top the global ranking table compiled by Alphaliner.

MSC’s latest dive into the secondhand markets sees it linked to three ships.

According to Clarksons, MSC has moved to acquire the 2004-built 1,850 teu Acacia Makoto from China’s Qingdao Pengteng for $6.95m, the 2009-built 1,730 teu Voronezh from Fesco for $9m, and the 2006-built 1,732 teu RHL Aurora from Hamburger Lloyd for $6.5m. VesselsValue places a market value of $6.4m, $9.46m and $7.44m on the three ships.

While MSC is set to overtake Maersk in terms of operating capacity when its orderbook delivers, in terms of actual owned tonnage in teu terms, the Danish carrier remains very dominant, currently owning more than twice as much of its box fleet compared to its Geneva counterpart.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.


  1. Am not satisfied with this statistics and I don’t know how you profile a shipping company performance? Am a Nigerian also a clearing and Freight forwarding agent and I most say that their customer care services is totally poor in Lagos and Port Harcourt City Rivers State. They need to improve more on their Customer/Clients relationship, otherwise their ranking will drop especially in a nation where the people solely depends on exports and imports to make a living.

    1. This is honest contribution, the CSU service of most operators in Nigeria are very poor while some are not in existence and still operate in the country, I can still shift some of the blame on our Citizens that lack honesty required if a citizen, what make up a country is citizen and CSU is image maker of a company.

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