From fuel, to clothes, to electronics and just about everything in-between, we rely on the largest container shipping companies in the world to bring to transport massive quantities of goods from distant shores to our own. Many people likely think of the world’s oceans as vast expanses of empty waves, yet the reality is that thousands of these massive ships are plying the earth’s waters daily, and some of the most popular sea routes are heavily trafficked as a result.
Which are the largest container shipping companies in the world who are responsible for these large scale transportation of goods? The answer is in the article! Actually, it is difficult to get proper information on container ship capacities as the companies like to keep it a trade secret, and the capacity may be several thousand twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) higher. The collective TEU of the world’s many shipping operations is the factor we’ve used to rank them, providing us with this list of the ten largest container shipping companies in the world.
If this article hasn’t completely sated your desire for knowledge regarding shipping companies and their operations, we recommend you to have a look into our previous article on The Ocean’s 10 Biggest Shipping Companies. Now, on with the list.
10. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)
Total Capacity (TEU): 412,859
Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, a core Mitsubishi company in Japan, presently manages around 776 major ocean ships, including 155 container ships, 286 bulk carriers, 113 car shippers, 21 reefer carriers, 55 wood-chip carriers, 30 LNG carriers, 78 tankers and 3 travel ships, in addition to its fleet of planes, trains and trucks. This company has 240 office locations in 27 countries, storehouses on almost every continent and marine operations around the world. It is popularly recognized as one of the ten largest container shipping companies in the world, and in fact, it is!
9. China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd (CSCL)
Total Capacity (TEU): 565,567
This Chinese shipping company operates over 150 ocean vessels around the world, providing full container packed freight transports, warehouses and also electronic data transaction services. They also operate container trucks, terminal facilities and international cargo organizations in several countries. The company has been growing rapidly since its foundation and now is now one of the ten largest container shipping companies in the world.
8. Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd
Country: South Korea
Total Capacity (TEU): 579,840
Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd possesses over 200 container ships, bulk carriers and LNG carriers, operates around 60 liner and tramper services, and carries over 100 million tons of cargo yearly around the whole world. This company transports approximately 579,840 TEU worth of containers a year.
7. American President Lines Ltd. (APL)
Total Capacity (TEU): 600,000
American President Lines Ltd. is an international shipping company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), a universal transportation and logistics agency involved in shipping around the globe. This company operates a container-ship fleet, which includes 153 container vessels, several warehouses, bulk and LNG carriers.
Total Capacity (TEU): 632,000
Hapag-Lloyd is the sixth largest among the ten largest container shipping companies in the world. Its container-ship fleet comprises 151 ocean vessels. This company was built in 1970 as a union of two independent German companies, Hapag (Hamburg Amerikanische Paketfahrt Aktien Gessellschaft) and North German Lloyd (NGL) or Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL).
5. China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO)
Total Capacity (TEU): 715,266
China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) is the worldwide shipping company which is the largest dry bulk carrier in China. This company possesses over 550 marine vessels with an annual capacity of 715,266 TEU and 30 million metric tons deadweight (DWT), operating in a thousand ports around the world.
4. Evergreen Marine Corporation
Total Capacity (TEU): 904,608
Evergreen Marine Corporation is the fourth largest of the ten largest container shipping companies in the world. It has more than 150 ocean ships that dock at 240 ports in 80 countries around the world. The company’s ships are apparently noticeable by their bodies which are painted green and the word ‘Evergreen’ placed conspicuously on the sides of the ships in white letters.
3. CMA CGM S.A.
Total Capacity (TEU): 1.56 million
CMA CGM is an international containerized-freight transportation and shipping company, operating along 170 shipping routes and 400 ports in 150 countries around the world. Their 170 ocean ships have a total capability of 1.56 million TEU of transport capacity.
2. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
Total Capacity (TEU): 2.3 million
Mediterranean Shipping Company is another large shipping agency, working all over the world on six continents. It has around 474 ocean vessels, and docks in 270 ports with an annual capacity of 2.3 million TEU. The most important port of MSC is Antwerp in Belgium. Moreover, the company owns ‘MSC Cruises’, which is a company based around tourist cruises.
1. A.P. Moller-Maersk Group (APM Maersk)
Total Capacity (TEU): 3.8 million
The APM Maersk Group is more than a shipping agency, working also in the energy sectors besides shipping and transportation. It operates more than 600 ocean ships with an annual capability of 3.8 million TEU, which is the largest in the world. The company currently has offices and services in 135 countries worldwide, with around 108,000 employees and stands as the largest container shipping company in the world today.