MSC is on the verge of toppling Maersk from its perch as the world’s leading line, Alphaliner says.
According to the ocean freight data aggregator this could happen early next year if MSC, buoyed by a bulging order book of both new orders and second-hand tonnage, continues to close the capacity gap on the Danish market leader.
Alphaliner reports that the capacity gap between the two lines currently equates to 225 000 TEUs.
However, Maersk has a fleet of 709 vessels with a net tonnage ability of 4 121 964 TEUs compared to MSC running 588 ships capable of carrying 3 897 002 TEUs.
A large part of MSC’s strategy to narrow the gap is based on a healthy balance between newbuild orders and second-hand tonnage acquisitions.
Just by looking at newbuilds coming in, MSC tops Maersk with 35 large deep-sea ships ordered compared to Maersk’s 16 similar-sized vessels ordered for regional service.
The combined capacity of MSC’s newbuild expansion translates to an additional 660 000 TEUs, Alphaliner says.
US ocean freight portal Maritime Executive quotes Alphaliner saying: “MSC’s pipeline could grow even further since several big newbuilds are believed to be joining the MSC fleet under long-term charters yet to be confirmed.”
Alphaliner notes though that Maersk’s lower newbuild tally should be seen against the backdrop of environmental strategising as the line gears operations according to decarbonisation requirements, a development that also includes alternative fuels.
Nevertheless, MSC’s gradual ascendancy speaks volumes of the line’s systematic growth compared to Maersk which claimed top spot through its acquisitions of Sealand and Safmarine, P&O Nedlloyd, and Hamburg Süd, respectively in 1999, 2005, and 2017.