The World’s Largest Container Carriers



Dirk Visser, Senior Shipping Consultant, Managing Editor Publications & DynaLiners, Dynamar


Since the start of this millennium, Dynamar has closely followed the annual progress of the world’s 25 largest container liner operators. One of the most remarkable developments has been the enormously increasing distance, in terms of fleet size, between the numbers one and twenty-five:

• In January 2000, the fleet of Maersk Sealand (as it was named the year after its merger with the American carrier), counted 282 ships with a nominal capacity of 620,300 TEU. This was 12x that of number 25 Cho Yang, then deploying 24 vessels/51,900 TEU. The latter South Korean carrier failed one year later in August.

• By the first month of this year, Maersk Line’s (as it was renamed following its 2006 acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd) fleet had grown to 631 vessels of nominal 3,274,000 TEU. This time it was 58x that of the 25th largest of that moment, Transworld Group with its 34 units/56,200 TEU.

This paper provides an update of the present Top 25's going as they enter 2017 following an utterly hectic 2016. That year saw the first steps to retirement of no less than eight traditional liner shipping names.

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