Shipping container companies have played a crucial role in global trade over the years. In this blog, we highlight the top 10 shipping container companies in 2023, giving you a comprehensive overview of the industry’s biggest players who are shaping the global economy today.
In this constantly changing industry, it’s important to stay up to date on the top shipping container companies in the game. With some companies terminating long-term alliances, it’s easy to fall victim to uncertainty. However most shipping container companies have successfully implemented sure-fire methods of elevating their brand and upholding their name.
Container xChange has been working closely with some of these industry giants. Overtime forming trusted business relationships with them so that we provide you 100% transparency, stability and strong customer relations.
All our members go through a mandatory vetting process for optimal safety in business transactions and container operations. Become a member on Container xChnage and only deal with reliable companies to do business with. If you’re interested in learning more, speak to one of our informed experts who’ll walk you through the process step-by-step!
Top shipping container companies in the world
You may have heard of some top shipping container companies, but do you know what sets them apart and earned them a spot on this exclusive list? These companies are the industry leaders, known for their large number of TEUs, strong alliances, and the amount of trips they make yearly. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at each of these companies and discover what makes them top players in the industry.
Mediterranean Shipping Company – MSC
Founded in 1970, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is a Switzerland-based shipping company that is among the world’s largest container shipping companies. MSC operates in over 160 countries and operates over 500 offices worldwide. With a capacity of 3.2 million TEUs, MSC is one of the main drivers within the industry because of their commitment to innovation and technology. The company was an early adopter of containerization, which transformed the shipping industry, and continues to invest in new technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its operations.
COSCO Shipping Lines
COSCO is a world-renowned container shipping company that operates a modern and efficient fleet of vessels. They have over 360 container ships that can transport over 2.9 million TEUs of cargo, making them one of the largest shipping companies in the world. COSCO is dedicated to sustainability, implementing eco-friendly technologies and initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. They are also known for their exceptional customer service, providing customized solutions and support to businesses of all sizes.
Hapag – Lloyd
Hapag-Lloyd is a global leader in the container shipping industry, with a modern and efficient fleet of vessels. They operate over 230 container ships that can transport over 1.7 million TEUs of cargo. Hapag-Lloyd is committed to sustainability, using eco-friendly technologies and practices to minimize their environmental impact. They also provide personalized and reliable customer service, helping businesses of all sizes navigate the complex world of global shipping.
Evergreen Marine Line
Evergreen Marine Line is a Taiwan-based shipping company that was founded in 1968. With a capacity of over 1.5 million TEUs, Evergreen operates a fleet of over 150 vessels and provides services to over 400 ports worldwide. The company is known for its reliability and efficient services.
Ocean Network Express (ONE)
Ocean Network Express (ONE) is a global shipping container company that provides ocean transportation services for customers around the world. ONE was formed in 2017 as a result of the merger of three leading Japanese shipping companies: NYK Line, MOL, and “K” Line. With a fleet of over 200 vessels and a global network of more than 140 offices in over 40 countries, ONE is one of the largest shipping container companies in the world. ONE’s fleet is so powerful that they can transport up to 1.6 million TEUs at a time! That’s enough to fill over 64,000 trucks!
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd. (HMM) is a South Korean shipping container company that provides ocean transportation services for customers around the world. HMM was founded in 1976 and has since grown to become one of the largest shipping companies in South Korea, with a fleet of over 100 vessels that can transport over 800,000 TEUs of cargo worldwide. That’s a lot of containers!
In recent years, HMM has made significant investments in new technologies and infrastructure, and has established a reputation for innovation and efficiency in the shipping industry. HMM’s services include container transportation, as well as a range of value-added services such as cargo tracking, online booking, and marine insurance.
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is an Israeli shipping container company that provides ocean transportation services for customers around the world. Founded in 1945, ZIM has grown to become one of the largest and most successful shipping companies in the Middle East, with a global network of offices and a modern fleet of over 100 vessels. These vessels can transport up to 600,000 TEUs of cargo, making them a reliable partner for businesses of all sizes.
Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp
Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation is a Taiwanese shipping container company that provides ocean transportation services for customers around the world. Founded in 1972, Yang Ming has grown to become one of the largest shipping companies in Taiwan, with a fleet of over 90 vessels, their ships can transport over 600,000 TEUs of cargo worldwide. Yang Ming is known for its commitment to customer service, safety, and sustainability, and has a reputation as a reliable and responsible player in the global shipping industry.
CMA CGM is a leading French shipping container company that operates a vast network of shipping services all over the world. Founded in 1978, CMA CGM has grown to become one of the largest container shipping companies in the world, with a fleet of over 500 vessels and a capacity of over 3.5 million TEUs. The company offers a comprehensive range of services, including ocean transportation, logistics solutions, and value-added services such as customs clearance, terminal handling, and container maintenance.
Maersk is a Danish shipping container company. They’re one of the largest and most influential players in the global shipping industry. Founded in 1904, Maersk has a long history of innovation and growth. Today the company operates a vast network of shipping services all over the world, with a fleet of over 700 vessels and a capacity of over 4.1 million TEUs. Maersk is one of the largest suppliers of refrigerated containers in the world. Their focus on sustainability, digitalization, and customer service contributes to making the shipping industry safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.
Read more: Top 10 container leasing companies
Discontinuation of 2M (Maersk + MSC) alliance in 2025
As of January 2023, MSC and AP Moller-Maersk issued a joint statement that the two companies had mutually agreed to terminate the 2M alliance in 2025. The 2M alliance formed between the Danish shipping line and the Swiss-Italian shipping company in 2015. The impact of this decision sparks up an entire rebuild of present operating contracts, notably on critical east-west trades.
Vincent Clerc, CCO of AP Moller – Maersk, and Soren Toft, CEO of MSC, said jointly: “MSC and Maersk recognize that much has changed since the two companies signed the 10-year agreement in 2015. Discontinuing the 2M alliance paves the way for both companies to continue to pursue their individual strategies.”
In a separate statement from MSC, Toft states that their brand will continue to strengthen and modernize their fleet. This essentially provides them the scale needed for comprehensive, short-sea networking in the market. Toft further goes on to say that their company remains focused on delivering high-quality service to their clients. They’ll remain steadfast in the development of cargo-carrying solutions on the oceans and beyond.
2023 market overview of shipping container industry
The container shipping industry saw unparalleled growth during the pandemic. However, the current year will be tough due to a difficult mix of slow demand and rapidly expanding fleet. Maritime Strategies International (MSI) analyst Daniel Richards unpacks three important elements to look for this year within the industry:
- Trade growth
- Pace and size of fleet growth
- Challenges surrounding congestion and capacity
According to Richards, there has been overbuilding of inventory, pressure on property markets owing to interest rates, and pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes, which will ultimately result in some difficulty for the first half of 2023.
As for fleet growth, MSI predicts a 7% year-on-year increase in fleet in 2023 and 2024 and above-average growth in 2025. If the predicted volume of scrapping somehow doesn’t occur, fleet growth might reach 10% per year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted supply and container shipping bottlenecks, but this is beginning to change. The large loss of capacity over the pandemic is now beginning to unravel and improve.
Shipping container companies have already prepared for the year ahead and continue to directly contribute to the flow of supply within the industry. You can contribute to the stability of the market by leasing boxes from these companies. Here’s how you can do it on Container xChange:
Lease boxes from top shipping container companies on Container xChange
Finding the shipping container you need can become a bit of a hassle. You also don’t necessarily have the means or capacity to commit to buying a container immediately, so leasing is your best bet, but where to start? How do you go about finding a trustworthy company to invest your time and hard-earned money?
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Shipping container companies: Common FAQs
What is the biggest problem with container shipping companies?
Shipping container shortage. Many existing containers are tied up in ports, storage facilities and vessels worldwide. The shortage has been made worse by port congestion and rising demand.
What are the three top shipping container companies?
The top three shipping container companies are as follows: Maersk having 4.3 million TEUs, MSC also having 4.3 million TEUs and CMA CGM having 3.2 million TEUs.
Do shipping container companies offer insurance?
Shipping container companies may offer to insure your container, however, this is dependent on the company's insurance policy and which you decide to opt for.