Vessel-hungry MSC set to take Maersk’s crown as world’s largest box line

Based on box ship orderbooks and its aggressive purchasing in the second-hand market, MSC is set to usurp 2M partner Maersk next year to become the world’s largest container line.

According to Alphaliner data, the capacity gap between the two carriers currently stands at around 225,000 teu, with the Danish carrier operating a fleet of 709 ships for 4,121,964 teu, while MSC’s 588-ship fleet has a capacity of 3,897,002 teu.

However, the consultant said, MSC’s two-pronged owned fleet growth strategy of hoovering up second-hand tonnage alongside its large orderbook will see Maersk become the junior partner in the 2M alliance “sometime in 2022”.

“MSC is behind orders for at least 35 big deepsea vessels, with a combined capacity of nearly 660,000 teu, while Maersk’s current orderbook only includes 16 ‘regional’ ships, for 41,674 teu,” said Alphaliner.