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MSC’s market share now at 20% as fleet nears 6 million TEUs

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GENEVA : MSC now has a market share of 20%, as its aggressive newbuilding drive and ship purchases placed the largest liner operator’s fleet at just under 6 million TEUs.

Alphaliner’s report stated that MSC’s fleet now stands at 837 ships of 5.98 million TEUs, putting the Swiss-Italian operator “one big ship delivery” away from hitting the 6 million TEU mark. These include 539 owned ships of nearly 3 million TEUs.

MSC’s strategy has made it grow faster than any of its peers, enabling it to overtake Maersk Line as the largest operator in 2022.

Ironically, MSC’s latest purchase, that of the 9,600 TEU MSC Nicole X (ex A.P. Moller), helped bring its fleet close to the 6 million TEU mark. Originally constructed as an 8,200 TEU ship in Odense Shipyard in 2000, A.P. Moller was upsized in China in 2011, when Maersk Line embarked on its Triple-E newbuilding construction spree.

From the company’s launch in 1970, it took MSC some 37 years to reach a fleet capacity of 1 million TEUs in January 2007; its fleet doubled in July 2011. The 3 million TEU milestone followed in May 2017, and the 4 million TEU in July 2021 half a year before MSC
surpassed Maersk.

MSC’s fleet reached 5 million TEUs in May 2023 and the carrier is expected to hit 6 million TEUs before the end of the month.

While MSC has been scrapping vessels, having torched seven elderly ships of 14,000 TEUs so far in 2024, this pales in comparison to the 28 newbuildings, amounting to 324,000 TEUs, that the operator has received over the same period.

Alphaliner noted that while MSC and Maersk will dissolve their 2M alliance in January 2025, MSC fleet as a solo operator will still outnumber that of the incoming Gemini Cooperation to be formed by Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd the following month.

MSC’s orderbook stands at 99 vessels of 1.19 million TEUs, meaning its fleet could grow to 7.17 million TEUs. Based on current fleet sizes and including newbuildings, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will have a combined fleet of 7.08 million TEUs.

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