‘Size isn’t an objective for us’: MSC’s Soren Toft

Soren Toft, CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), has passed comment on one of this week’s biggest shipping stories – his company surpassing his old employers, Maersk, at the top of the liner rankings.

Toft, who joined MSC 13 months ago, having previously been COO at 2M partner Maersk, has presided over a swift rise of the Swiss line, which, with the purchase of the the 4,992 teu Mexico, topped the liner rankings compiled by Alphaliner.

We never set a specific target to be the biggest

“Size isn’t an objective for us,” Toft claimed, adding: “At MSC, we never set a specific target to be the biggest. Growth, profitability and supporting customers are what have driven us, and what will continue to drive us forward.”

With a confirmed vessel orderbook of almost exactly 1m teu, the largest of all carriers, MSC is expected to further consolidate its position as the world’s largest containerline over the course of 2022.

Maersk has been the world’s largest containerline since the 1990s. In recent years it has repeatedly stated its intention be a logistics integrator with a fleet no larger than 4m to 4.4m teu.

“If MSC ends up having more capacity than we do, that’s not the end of the world,” Maersk CEO Søren Skou said during Maersk’s capital markets day last May. “That’s not how we think about being number one. Our focus is on having a much higher turnover per container that we ship.”

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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