Shipping article(s)
May 2, 2024

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is expected to maintain its position as the world's largest carrier in terms of shipping capacity until 2026, according to a new Sea-Intelligence analysis.


The Danish maritime data analysis firm predicts that MSC is on track to expand its fleet size, reinforcing its position as the world's largest carrier.


"With this, MSC will grow their size advantage substantially compared to CMA CGM — which will become the second-largest carrier, relegating Maersk to third," the recent report said.


Sea Intelligence noted the limitations of a common approach to forecasting shipping lines' future fleet sizes. It said that traditionally, analysts often add the current fleet size to the order book, neglecting factors like second-hand market trades and changes in chartered vessel usage.


Instead, studying individual shipping lines' fleet adjustment strategies over the recent years can help predict future fleet sizes.


Sea Intelligence noted that using the simplistic approach to predict fleet sizes often overestimates actual growth.


It pointed out that this suggests that when new ships are acquired, most carriers also reduce their fleet capacity by selling existing tonnage or terminating charter agreements.


The maritime data analysis firm said only MSC and ONE deviate from this, by also taking in additional tonnage. 


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 [Source: Sea Intelligence]


"Figure 1 shows the projected fleet sizes in April 2026 if we employ the simplistic or adjusted approach (i.e., also account for current tonnage strategies), which assumes that the strategic approach followed in the last two years will also apply in the coming two years," said Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence.

The analysis noted that Hapag-Lloyd recently issued its new 2030 strategy, and one of the priorities is that it remains a top-5 carrier.


"This will require a change in approach compared to the last 2 years, as otherwise, they will be pushed to a ranking of sixth, behind ONE," Murphy added.

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