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The Ocean’s 10 Biggest Shipping Companies

Biggest shipping companies: Container shipping has become one of the most lucrative and efficient means of transportation. Connecting ports from one corner to the other, container ships have shaped the way many businesses operate nowadays. The benefits of this transportation method, introduced nearly six decades ago, are undeniable: lower shipping costs, increased safety, and a wider variety of products and goods that can be transported by water.

There are virtually hundreds of shipping companies worldwide, big or small. However, there are a few companies out there with a fleet that would put most navies to shame. In a style similar to our list of the world’s most dangerous jobs, let’s take a look at the biggest shippers out there.

No. 10: CSCL


China Shipping Container Lines, or CSCL for short, is definitely the late bloomer to the container shipping game. Even though it started out in 1997, the company has made waves and it is now a big name on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Markets.

See the rest of the biggest shipping companies on the following pages:

No. 9: Hanjin, South Korea


Even though it has a fleet of only 60 ships, the Hanjin company has made our countdown due to the more than 1 billion tons of cargo it ships every year.

No. 8: APL (owned by Singaporean Orient Shipping Lines)


American President Lines, or APL for short, has been in the business of maritime shipping for more than one hundred years. An impressive feat in its own right, but not the only achievement of the company. APL is widely regarded as the first ever shipping company to use extra-large containers on its ships.

No. 7: Hapag-Lloyd, Germany


Hapag-Lloyd was “born” in 1970, when two leading shipping companies joined forces, merging into one entity: Lloyd and the Hamburg-American Line. Currently, the company operates a little over 130 ships.

No. 6: COSCO, China


COSCO, an acronym for the China Ocean Shipping Company, services ports in over 40 countries and operates a fleet of more than 150 container ships, making it the leading shipping company on Asian territory.

No. 5: NYK, Japan


One of the oldest competitors in our countdown, NYK, short for Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, started out as a passenger fleet line back in 1870, before transition to a container shipping company in the mid 1950s. Apparently, that was one smart move as NYK has transformed itself in one of the world’s leading container shipping companies.

No. 4: Evergreen Marine Corporation, China


With over 160 container ships and offices all around the world, this Chinese mega-corporation is one of the biggest shipping companies around.

No. 3: CMA-CGM, France


CMA-CGM is the result of several shipping companies merging together back in 1978. Apparently that was one very successful merger, as CMA is nowadays one of the leading container shipping companies in the world, with a fleet of nearly 350 ships and more than 150 international routes.

No. 2: MSC, Switzerland


MSC, short for the Mediterranean Shipping Company, has a history of over four decades. Though “younger” than other container shipping companies in our countdown, MSC has amassed an impressive fleet of 456 container vessels.

No. 1: Maersk, Denmark


With a fleet of approximately 500 container ships, Maersk Shipping Line was bound to take the cake in our countdown. Maersk entered the world of maritime shipping at the beginning of last century and since then it has slowly worked its way towards the top.

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