Ranking of the 5 largest shipping companies in the world for container transportation

The largest companies based on tracking capacity from the world’s fleet of container ships based on twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This is a calculation of how many twenty-foot shipping containers a company can transport at a given time.

We offer you to get acquainted with a brief reference about them.

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC)

23 million TEU 

HEADQUARTERS: Geneva, Switzerland

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) is a world leader among privately owned shipping companies. As it is written on the official website of the company, In total, they have 675 representative offices located in 155 countries. Its history began in 1970. Currently, it employs 24 thousand people. It owns 730 container ships, including the 4 largest in the world. One such vessel is capable of transporting 19 thousand containers.

A.P. Moller-Maersk Group

The largest operating division of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group is Maersk Line. It was founded in 1904. The company is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Currently, offices are located in 130 countries. The company employs around 95,000 people.  

It has 738 container ships with a capacity of around 4,275,542 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units). The total value of goods they transport for 1 year is $675 billion dollars. This amount is not much less than the GDP of Switzerland. In total, Triple-E vessels can accommodate 18,000 containers of 20 feet. The company uses 5 such vessels.


CMA CGM ranks third in the ranking of the largest shipping companies. France’s leading container shipping company, CMA-CGM was in the 4th spot last year (2021). It owns 568 vessels, provides transportation to 420 ports and 160 countries. The headquarters is in Marseille, France. It is a relatively young company, as it was founded in 1978. The company employs 22 thousand employees.

With new mega-ships being added to its fleet, it is now the 3rd largest company in terms of TEU capacity. It has a carrying capacity of around 3,198,217 TEU.

The largest vessel of the company is Georg Forster, it is capable of transporting 18 thousand containers at a time. The name means “Sea Freight Company – General Maritime Company”.

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO)

This Chinese company, headquartered in Beijing and operating since 1961, is on the 4th position in the ranking. In addition, it ranks first among shipping companies outside Europe. The number of employees is 130 thousand.

The Company focuses on container shipping and terminal operations. As of 30 June 2022, the Company operates a total fleet capacity of 512 ships and 2.92 million TEUs through its wholly-owned subsidiary COSCO SHIPPING Lines and its holding subsidiary Oriental Overseas International.

Currently COSCO owns 5 largest container ships, each of them transports 19 thousand containers. In total, the group owns 1114 vessels, of which 285 are container ships.


Hapag-Lloyd is based in Germany and is the country’s largest ocean liner with five regional headquarters in Piscataway, Hamburg, Valparaiso, and Singapore. The company serves 128 countries through 399 offices, and it has a total capacity of just under 1,7 Million TEU.

With its modern reefer container fleet of 237 ships, Hapag-Lloyd offers a total of 118 liner services throughout the world.

The Hapag-Lloyd fleet stops at 600 ports on all continents to provide fast and reliable international trade connections. The company is also an ocean carrier for Latin America, Intra-America, Middle-East, and Transatlantic trades.

Continued in the following articles.

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