MSC Achieves Record 20% Market Share of Global Containership Capacity

Posted by PartYard Marine

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has reached a historic milestone by securing a 20% share of the global container shipping market, according to new data from Alphaliner. This achievement underscores MSC’s significant growth in fleet capacity, driven by an aggressive newbuilding program, numerous second-hand acquisitions, and strategic chartering.

MSC’s fleet surpassed the 5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (teu) threshold in May of last year and is now poised to cross the 6 million teu mark with the impending delivery of a new vessel. This rapid expansion has positioned MSC ahead of major ocean alliances in terms of market share, signaling its capability to independently operate a global network following the dissolution of the 2M Alliance with Maersk.

Alphaliner highlighted the symbolic nature of MSC’s latest achievement, marked by the acquisition of the 9,600 teu MSC Nicole X, a former Maersk vessel. This vessel is among ten Odense-built ships previously owned by Maersk that MSC has incorporated into its fleet in recent years.

Impact on Global Shipping Alliances

As MSC moves towards operating independently, the landscape of global shipping alliances is undergoing significant changes. Alphaliner’s data from May 30 reveals that THE Alliance carriers held an 11.6% market share, the newly formed Gemini Cooperation between Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd commands 22%, and Ocean Alliance members hold nearly 29%. Other non-aligned carriers, including Wan Hai, Zim, and PIL, comprise the remaining market share.

Xeneta, a leading benchmarking platform, noted in its half-year report that the disbandment of the 2M Alliance is progressing, with MSC and Maersk already operating independently under the 2M banner. This transition period requires careful navigation, especially as existing long-term contracts may be affected by these alliance shifts.

Xeneta advises shippers to stay informed and maintain open communication with carriers. As alliances evolve, shippers should be prepared to build new relationships and adapt to new operational practices. Considering the diverse strategies and unique selling propositions (USPs) of carriers will be crucial in aligning with shippers’ priorities, whether that be market share, service quality, or cost-effectiveness.

Future of the Ocean Alliances

The Gemini Cooperation, announced in January, will see Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk operating 290 vessels with a combined capacity of 3.4 million teu. Meanwhile, the Ocean Alliance, consisting of CMA CGM, Cosco, Evergreen, and OOCL, has extended its operational cooperation until at least 2032, with a total capacity of 4.5 million teu on key east-west routes.

THE Alliance faces a challenging future as it prepares for the departure of Hapag-Lloyd, the largest carrier in the group. This shift underscores the dynamic and competitive nature of the global shipping industry, where strategic partnerships and fleet expansions play crucial roles in determining market leadership.

As the global shipping landscape continues to evolve, MSC’s remarkable achievement of a 20% market share reflects its strategic vision and robust growth, setting a new benchmark in the liner industry.

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