COSCO Triples Market Share in Three Years

Credit: Anton van den Aarssen 

COSCO has tripled its share of the container shipping market in just three years and overtaken CMA CGM as the third biggest ocean carrier in the world behind Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

The Chinese state-owned ocean carrier’s market share is at 12.3%, up from 4.4% in 2015 when it ranked sixth, according to shipping analyst Alphaliner’s table of the world’s largest container shipping companies by vessel capacity.

COSCO has also seen its annual TEU capacity increase by 68% during that time.

Statistics correct, as of July 31 2018

The figures are largely the result of COSCO’s takeover of Hong Kong liner Orient Overseas International Limited (OOCL), which secured its final approval from US Homeland Security in July 2018.

However, the table also underlines the strength of China as a global trading power at a time when much of the ocean container shipping sector is struggling to cope with overcapacity, rising external costs and the threat of trade wars.

Almost one-third of global container volume passes through Chinese ports.

Read more about China's maritime and economic policies by reading a Port Technology technical paper

Since 2013 the country has invested in two-thirds of the world’s 50 largest ports as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to the banking group HSBC.

Currently, China-invested ports handle 67% of the world’s container trade.

Maersk remain the biggest container line in the world with a market share of 17.9%, and Mediterranean Shipping Corporation (MSC) remains in second place.

Hapag-Lloyd, which lost $1.38 billion and saw its stock market value fall by 20% after a poor profit forecast in July 2018, has dropped to fifth.

The German container line has since strenuously denied rumours that it is in negotiations with CMA CGM about a potential merger.

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