Ten biggest shipping companies in 2020

The slowdown in manufacturing and export orders worldwide has resulted in a moderate container trade growth in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic further impacted global demand in 2020. Ship Technology lists the ten biggest shipping companies based on their total twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity in 2019.

Biggest shipping companies: Top ten by TEU capacity

1. P. Moller–Maersk – 4.1m TEU
2. Mediterranean Shipping Company – 3.8m TEU
3. COSCO Shipping Lines – 3.1mTEU
4. CMA CGM Group – 2.7m TEU
5. Hapag-Lloyd – 1.7m TEU
6. Ocean Network Express – 1.5m TEU
7. Evergreen Line – 1.2m TEU
8. Orient Overseas Container Line – 733,580 TEU
9. HMM – 728,416 TEU
10. Yang Ming – 616,000 TEU


1.  A.P. Moller-Maersk – 4.1m TEU
A.P. Moller-Maersk is the world’s largest integrated shipping company based in Denmark. Credit: Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock.

A.P. Moller-Maersk is the world’s largest integrated shipping company with a total capacity of 4.1m TEU. It operates a fleet of 708 vessels including 307 own container vessels and 401 chartered container vessels as of December 2019.

The Danish company also plans to add a total of 11 401m-long container ships with 19,630 TEU capacity to its fleet by 2021. The new ships will be the largest container vessels in the Maersk fleet. Two 18,500 TEU Triple-E vessels and seven Baltic feeder vessels will also join the Maersk fleet.

The company operates diverse business segments, including the ocean, logistics, terminals and towage, manufacturing and others. The company’s digital container logistics platform TradeLens serves 98 directly integrated ports and terminals.

2. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) – 3.8m TEU
MSC has a fleet of 560 vessels carrying 21 million TEUs annually. Credit: Catstyecam/Shutterstock.

Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) container ship fleet has a total intake capacity of 3.8m TEU. The company operates a fleet of 560 cargo vessels, carrying 21m TEUs annually.

The company operates a modern fleet comprising Gulsan Class vessels, a new class of sustainable container ship, to minimise the environmental impact. The vessel design offers the lowest carbon footprint at 7.49gm of CO₂ emissions to move 1t of cargo to one nautical mile.

3. China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) Shipping Lines – 3.1mTEU
COSCO Shipping operates 401 international and domestic shipping routes across 105 countries. Credit: MartinLueke/Shutterstock.

China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) Shipping Lines, a fully owned subsidiary of China’s state-owned shipping giant COSCO SHIPPING Holding, operates 507 container vessels with a combined capacity of approximately 3.1m TEU.

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