MSC Gülsün at Shanghai terminal

As its fleet capacity edges above 4m teu, MSC is on the cusp of overtaking 2M partner Maersk to become the largest carrier.

According to Alphaliner, following its aggressive buying spree of secondhand tonnage, the Swiss carrier now controls a fleet of 604 ships for a capacity of 4,015,674 teu, narrowing the gap on Maersk to just 106,000 teu.

Moreover, the current market leader has a virtually empty orderbook as it commits its efforts to research and development into alternative fuels.

In contrast, with 40 vessels, representing 724,000 teu, under construction, MSC has the largest orderbook of all the container lines.

The consultant said it had taken MSC just eight years to double its container fleet. It has expanded by 4% so far this year year.

Maersk has reigned at the top of the carrier league table for more than a quarter of a century, but chief executive Soren Skou is apparently unconcerned about being ousted by its 2M partner, and rival.

“That’s not the end of the world,” he said at the company’s Capital Markets Day last month.

“That’s not how we think about being number one. Our focus is on having a much higher turnover per container we ship,” said Mr Skou.

To hear more about the capacity crunch, listen to this clip from The Loadstar Podcast.

Or to hear a clip about what actions Maersk is taking to help customers, listen here.


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