Largest Shipping Companies

As the global movement of goods continues to grow, so too does the scale and size of shipping companies that lead the industry.

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Top Ten Shipping Companies

Counting down from number ten, view the world's largest shipping companies by TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit), and their vast fleets of container vessels.

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10. Hamburg Süd

Hamburg Süd operates 105 container ships across the globe with a capacity of 562,764 TEU (2.7% share). Based in Hamburg, Germany, the company was founded in 1871 as a joint-stock carrier by eleven merchant houses based in the city.

9. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)

A Japanese carrier and core Mitsubishi company, NYK boasts a TEU capacity of 573,045 (2.7% share) spread across 100 container ships worldwide.

8. Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation

Based in Keelung, Taiwan, Yang Ming was founded in 1972 and is the world's eighth largest shipping company. It has a capacity of 592,805 TEU (2.8% share) and a fleet of 96 container ships.

7. Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL)

Based in Hong-Kong, OOCL was founded in 1947 and was originally known as the Orient Overseas Line. It later changed its name to the Orient Overseas Container Line in 1969, and is now the seventh largest shipping company in the world. It has a capacity of 696,936 TEU (3.3% share) and 107 container ships, which includes the OOCL Hong Kong, the world's largest cellular vessel (by TEU).

6. Evergreen Marine Corp.

With headquarters in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, Evergreen Marine is the sixth largest shipping company in the world, with a capacity of over 1 million TEU (4.9% share). Founded in 1968, it has over 3,300 employees worldwide and a fleet of 194 container ships.

5. Hapag-Lloyd

Founded in 1970, Hapag-Lloyd originally formed following the merger of Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) and Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL). It has since merged with Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) in 2014, to become a German-Chilean owned conglomerate and the world's fifth largest shipping company. Today the company has 220 container ships, and a capacity of 1.5 million TEU (7.3% share).


An acronym for China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, COSCO is a state-owned Chinese carrier with headquarters in Beijing. In February 2016, the company merged with China Shipping Group to become the world's fourth largest carrier with 8.3% share. Today COSCO has a fleet of 312 container ships and a capacity of 1.7 million TEU.

3. CMA CGM Group

CMA CGM S.A. is a French shipping company which was founded in 1996 following the merger of Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM) and Compagnie Maritime d'Affrètement (CMA). It has a rich history which can be traced back to 1851, and is now the third largest shipping company in the world. CMA CGM has 462 container ships and a TEU capacity of 2.3 million (11.1% share).

2. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)

MSC is a Geneva based Italian shipping company, known across the globe as a container shipping heavyweight and cruise liner operator (MSC Cruises). Founded in 1970, the company has expanded from a single vessel called Patricia, to a 511 strong fleet of container ships, with a capacity of 3 million TEU (14.7% share).

1. A.P. Moller–Maersk Group

Also referred to as Maersk, or Maersk Line, the A.P. Moller–Maersk Group is a Danish business conglomerate and the world’s largest container shipping company. Boasting over 89,000 employees worldwide with offices in 135 countries, the behemothic carrier has an armada of vessels (640), which includes the world’s second largest container ship by TEU capacity, the Madrid Maersk. Founded in 1904, Maersk has a TEU capacity of 3.4 million (16.3% share).


All figures are consolidated. Shipping company TEU, share and fleet data has been sourced from Alphaliner.

'Share' is the carrier's TEU contribution, represented as a percentage of global capacity (approx. 21 million).