MSC fleet of 5 million TEU, now heading for 6 million

According to Alphaliner, a French provider of shipping statistics, MSC is about to become the first container shipping company with a fleet of more than 5 million TEU. Currently, the counter for the Swiss-Italian shipping company stands at 4,956,720 TEU, according to Alphaliner. The upcoming delivery of the newbuildings ‘MSC Michel Cappellini’ and ‘MSC Gemma’, both mega ships with a capacity of 24,000 TEU, by Chinese shipyards will soon result in exceeding the 5 million TEU milestone. MSC last year took over the title of the world’s largest shipping company from Maersk, the Danish carrier previously known for setting capacity records. Ten years ago, in 2012/2013, Maersk was the first shipping company to increase its capacity to 2.5 million TEUs. In 2005, Maersk reached the 1 million TEU mark with its acquisition of Dutch-British shipping company P&O Nedlloyd.

The most striking statistical fact illustrating the growth of container shipping is that the total global container fleet of all container shipping companies at the turn of the century was around 5 million TEU, the same amount that MSC alone will soon sail with. Bimco, the international trade association of shipping companies, reported last month that the total global container fleet is also heading for a new milestone sometime between now and next year: 30 million TEU, double the 15 million TEU in 2011. Despite the current challenging market conditions, container shipping companies continue to order plenty of new ships, especially large-scale ones with a capacity of 24,000 TEU. This certainly includes MSC, which has a significantly filled order book. Alphaliner predicts that the market leader is expected to exceed 6 million TEU as early as the middle of next year.