World trade, as you can probably guess, heavily depends on the shipping industry. The shipping industry accounts for nearly 90% of the world trade. Based on the data provided by the website, which has ranked the companies on the basis of their TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) or the weight carrying capacity, the top ten shipping companies in the world, in descending order, are listed as follows.

The TEU is basically a measure of the number of containers having dimensions 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 9 feet high. So if the TEU of a company is 600,000 that means the capacity of that company is of 600,000 such containers. Below are the top 10 largest shipping companies in the world in 2019.

10. MOL

Top Shipping Companies 2019

MOL or Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. is a Japanese company that was founded in the year 1886 and that has its headquarters in the city of Tokyo. The TEU value of the company is 507,988. Along with ships, it has coastal liners, ferries and cruise ships. The main area of operation of the company is international shipping. It is part of the Mitsui keiretsu, which is a group of aligned companies.


Top Shipping Companies

CSCL or the China Shipping Container Lines is a company based in Shanghai, China and was founded in the year 1997. The TEU of the company is 565,567. Now integrated with COSCO Container Lines (renames as COSCO Shipping Lines), it operates across many continents and countries, including Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, South Africa, Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

8. Hanjin Shipping Company

Top Shipping Companies

A South Korean integrated logistics and container support company, Hanjin Shipping Company is the largest shipping company in Korea. Founded in the year 1977, the TEU of a fleet is 579,840. The services of the company included container services as well as bulk services. The shipping terminals were internationally distributed and the company owned fourteen dockyards across various countries including Korea, Japan, the United States of America, Spain, Vietnam, Taiwan and Belgium.

7. APL

Top Shipping Companies

APL or the American President Lines Ltd. along with its parent company CMA CGM which is one of the popularly acclaimed shipping firms in the industry. Founded in the year 1848, it is headquartered in Singapore. It operates ten marine terminals that are located at strategic sites around the world, including in Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, India and Taiwan in Asia as well as in Alaska and the United States of America. The company has a TEU of 589,924.

6. Hapag-Lloyd

Top Shipping Companies

Hapag-Lloyd is a container-shipping and transportation multinational company based in Germany. It specialises in dangerous goods, reefer cargo and special cargo projects. The company was formed in the year 1970, when two companies, Hamburg America Line (HAPAG) and Norddeutscher Llloyd (NDL) or North German Llloyd (NGL) merged. Headquartered at Hamburg, Germany, the company offers international cruises on many vessels. It also provides private jet services to the customers. The TEU of the company fleet is of 632,348.


Top Shipping Companies

The fifth largest shipping and logistics service supplier company in the world is COSCO or China Ocean Shipping Group Company which is based in China. Founded in the year 1961, COSCO has its headquarters in Beijing, China. It is the largest dry bulk carrier company in China and also one of the largest bulk shipping operators in the world. The company has a TEU of 715,266. The company owns 1114 ships, which include 365 dry bulk vessels, a tanker fleet having 120 vessels and also a container fleet having a capacity of 1,580,000 TEU. The COSCO group is also the largest line carrier in China.

4. Evergreen Line

Top Shipping Companies

Another leading shipping company, Evergreen Line was founded in the year 1968 and has its headquarters in Taiwan. The busiest route of the company is that between East Asia to North America and Central America. The company operates on two hundred and forty ports across eighty countries in the world. The TEU of the company is 720,893.


Top Shipping Companies

A leading worldwide shipping group, CMA CGM S.A. is one of the world-famous shipping companies, headquartered in Marseille, France, and founded in the year 1978. The North American headquarters of the company is in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. It has a TEU of 1,398,216 and uses two hundred shipping routes between four hundred and twenty ports in a hundred and fifty different countries. The name of the company translates to ‘Maritime Freighting Company – General Maritime Company’.

2. Mediterranean Shipping Company

Top Shipping Companies

The second largest shipping company in the world in terms of container vessel capacity, the Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. or MSC is a private company founded in the year 1970 with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It has been named the shipping line of the year for the sixth time in eleven years in the year 2007 by Lloyds Loading List. The most important port for the company is Antwerp in Belguim and it operates on all the major ports of the world. It has a TEU of 2,245,342.

1. Maersk

Top Shipping Companies

At number 1 is Maersk, which is a Danish business conglomerate formed in the year 1904 that is involved in the transport and logistics as well as the energy sectors. With a TEU of 2,589,905, it is the world’s largest container ship and supply vessel operator since the year 1996. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the company has subsidiaries and offices across one hundred and thirty countries in the world. The company also owns the largest ship in the world called Emma Maersk. It also has huge fleet of over 600 vessels.

The TEU of the shipping company and its vast fleets of container vessels is generally the criterion for ranking the shipping companies in the world. As mentioned before, shipping services are a crucial part of the global trade and hence influence the economies of the countries. This is largely because of the great amount of goods that can be carried by ships and not by other means of transport.


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