The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is set to become the first container shipping company to surpass the 5 million TEU capacity barrier, according to data analysis from Alphaliner. The company currently has a total capacity of 4,956,720 TEU and a market share of 18.5%. However, with the addition of new container ships, including a new class of 24,000 TEU container ships and a new class of 16,000 TEU Neo-Panamax boxships, MSC’s capacity is set to grow by a third based on its backlog. The company has grown rapidly in recent years, from 1 million TEUs in 2007 to over 4.9 million TEUs in 2023.
MSC’s rapid growth marks a shift in the company’s strategy, with company-owned ships now making up two-thirds of its total capacity. Alsop reported that MSC has purchased 306 container ships with a capacity of 1.2 million TEU since August 2020, and brokers have reported the company buying excess tonnage from Maersk. As of January 2023, MSC and Maersk announced the dissolution of their 2M alliance, with both companies planning to operate independently on key routes.
The industry-wide trend toward overcapacity in container shipping has led to record numbers of new orders in the past two years. Maersk, the second-largest container shipping company with a capacity of just over 4.1 million TEU, has thinned out its fleet in recent years. The third-largest container shipping company, the CMA CGM Group, has a capacity of almost 3.5 million TEU and continues to place newbuilding orders.