In this list showcasing the 11 biggest shipping companies in the world, we look at one of the world’s oldest means of goods transportation available today, cargo shipping, once a rewardingly profitable multi-billion dollar industry.
This decades-old driver of global trade meets the burgeoning needs of worldwide businesses in need of carriage, transfer, and distribution of their products. It has domestic and global contracts that bring fruits from Asia to the United States, sporting equipment from Europe to the Middle East, and everything (and everywhere) in between. They can carry barrels of oil or loads of ore and reach continents at the tip of the world through thick sheets of ice or traverse the largest oceans to help commerce thrive.
While it’s true that the sector has experienced some years of drought, it had a quick breathing gap from 2010 to 2015. Later on, concerns of supply and demand began troubling the ecosystem once more. Profits went from slim to nonexistent given the oversupply of ships and higher fuel prices. Freight services are expected to bounce back, but if you intend to invest, pick companies with consistently strong revenue amid the cycles of depressed markets.
There was a time when the commodities markets were at high ground and the shipping industry invested heavily on new fleets and upgrades. Then the recession came, and both industries saw long periods of turmoil, with the shipping industry dragging along without profit. To a majority of long-term investors, shipping stocks are never an option. But if you want to enter the market, this is a good time to buy stocks that are awfully cheap in an environment when the industry is finally seeing signs of rebound.
To create this list, we looked at the giants of the industry and ranked them according to their fiscal 2016 revenue. While some may rank shipping companies according to their weight-carrying capacity or number of container vessels, ranking them based on revenue shows off the company’s efficiency and its ability to gain and retain customers.
This list considers direct shipping companies that may not be trading on public stock exchanges. It also includes holding companies that are mostly engaged in shipping for the energy sector. To come up with this list, we looked at Hamburg-headquartered Statista, the statistics portal, which utilizes a team of over 450 statisticians, database experts, and analysts to gather its data.
Based on 2016 revenue, the top 11 global leaders in shipping include CH Robinson Worldwide Inc.(NASDAQ:CHRW), China Merchant Holdings, Hyundai Glovis, MISC, Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd., CMA CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Co., A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, Nippon Yusen KK, Kuehne + Nagel International AG, and China COSCO Holdings (China Ocean Shipping Company). Check out the list of the 11 biggest shipping companies in the world beginning on the next page.
If you love this list, check out our list of the The Ocean’s 10 Biggest Shipping Companies.
11. China Merchant Holdings
China Merchant Holdings reported $1 billion in revenue for its fiscal year 2016. China Merchants Group, the company from which CMH hails, is a state-owned conglomerate. It offers ports and services in shipping and logistics as well as marine repairs. China Merchants Energy Shipping Company also boasts oil tankers and a large bulk carrier fleet.
Malaysian company MISC reported $2.3 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2016, thanks to the shipping of energy-related products, including liquefied natural gas and petroleum. It is a subsidiary of energy giant PETRONAS.
9. China COSCO Holdings (China Ocean Shipping Company)
COSCO boasts a fleet of 304 self-operating container vessels with a capacity of 1,610,000 TEU and earned $71.16 billion yuan ($11.2 billion) in revenue in 2016, its highest total in four years.
8. CH Robinson Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ:CHRW)
CH Robinson Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ:CHRW) pulled in $13.1 billion in 2016 thanks to its sizable logistics and supply enterprise and enormous carrier network.
7. Hyundai Glovis
With a fleet of 55 ships and 35 carriers, Hyundai Glovis is one of South Korea’s most prestigious shipping lines. It earned $13.2 billion in 2016 transporting heavy machinery for construction, buses, and electric locomotives, among other industries. Hyundai Glovis is part of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.
6. Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd.
Mitsui is a 130-year-old Japanese company which had reported fiscal year 2016 revenue of $13.6 billion. It caters to a variety of industries including dry bulkers, tankers, LNG carriers, and car carriers as well as commercial services like cruise ships.
5. Kuehne + Nagel International AG
On the fifth spot of our list of the 10 biggest shipping companies in the world is Kuehne + Nagel. Also a multi-channel company, Kuehne + Nagel offers full load containers for any industry and had $16.8 billion in revenue in 2016. It has shipment transport management programs that ensure goods are delivered efficiently in any part of the world.
4. Nippon Yusen KK
Japan-headquartered Nippon Yusen is one of the more popular shipping companies, which allowed it to manage $17.7 billion in revenue in its fiscal year 2016. The company’s container shipping segment moves goods such as food and electronic equipment.
3. CMA CGM
In 2016, CMA CGM reported revenue of $16 billion. The company enjoyed an increase of up to 20% in volumes shipped from 2015 to 2016. In the fourth quarter of that, its revenue rose by 28% compared to the same period in 2015. It closed its acquisition of NOL in 2016, which substantially increased the company’s fleet and volumes shipped.
2. Mediterranean Shipping Co.
Mediterranean Shipping’s latest available annual revenue was for 2015, when it sucked in $28.19 billion in sales. It is dubbed the second-largest shipper in terms of fleet capacity and primarily transports dry cargo—including food, rare and precious cargo, and even hazardous products. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
1. A.P. Moller- Maersk Group
Landing atop our list of the 11 biggest shipping companies in the world is A.P Moller-Maersk Group, with over $35 billion in revenue in fiscal 2016. Founded in Denmark, Maersk has operations in 130 countries and is the leader in cargo shipping. It recently closed its acquisition of Hamburg Süd.