One year after taking first place worldwide from Maersk Group, MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) has consolidated its leadership by constantly expanding its fleet. By mid-March, MSC’s fleet had reached 4.75 Mteu, compared to Maersk’s 4.19 Meu.
In February 2022, the first monthly chart with MSC at the top, MSC had just narrowly taken the lead at 4.31 Mteu over Maersk at 4.28 Mteu. This shows that MSC has not only massively expanded its fleet through charters, newbuild commissions and second-hand purchases, but also illustrates that Maersk has not expanded at all in the last twelve months.
On the contrary: Maersk’s fleet capacity has even diminished somewhat, as the carrier dumped a number of older ships. Ironically, many of these were purchased by MSC, including six of Maersk’s former “S-class” flagships from Denmark’s Odense Shipyard (1997 – 1999).
However, in the long term, MSC’s 1.80 Mteu order book will not add to the carrier’s current fleet capacity and will create a “monstrous” shipping line of 6.50 Mteu or more.
Like any other carrier, MSC is expected to phase out the older tonnage in the second half of the 2020s.
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Alphaliner believes that MSC will target a fleet size of around 5.50 to 6.00 Mteu as optimal for a global independent shipping line.