Containers by Sea – Mega Players and Mega Ships

Consolidation of global container shippers and intercontinental ships continues in the global shipping industry.

Over the past years, the number of large container shipping companies has decreased after a wave of consolidation; the companies continue to create alliances in order to share ships and port infrastructure.

Another step for combined container shipping companies is investing into port terminals, which allows to improve power over container shipping industry. Port operators give willingly their consent for joining shipping lines expecting to get benefits from more port calls and transshipments.

Cosco, China Merchant and China Overseas Port Holding Chinese corporations have spent more than $4 B since 2010 for stakes in 21 of the top 50 container ports. That is on top of $40 billion China has already pumped into ports along its coastline.

Cosco has invested in terminals in Seattle, the Italian port of Vado and Greece’s Piraeus. Last year Piraeus was one of its best performing Cosco’s units, with container volumes rising 14%.

APM Terminals operate as a subsidiary of A.P. Møller Mærsk A/S combined with Maersk Line, the world largest container shipping company. The company has spent $7.9 B to develop its terminal network since 2010. In January, Mediterranean Shipping Co., second world’s largest shipping line, became the owner of the biggest container terminal at Long Beach by buying 54% stake.

At the same time, Maersk Line continues to enlarge its container vessels. In April, Madrid Maersk, 20.568 TEU container vessel, called the port. It is the first in a series of 11 similar vessels, known as the EEE Mark II. The new vessels come with substantial modifications that increase their nominal box intake by 12% over the original EEEs delivered by Maersk between 2013 and 2015.

However, Madrid Maersk’s reign as the world’s largest container vessel will be brief as the new 21.1 TEU OOCL container line enters service.

By the way, 18 TEU container vessels no longer compel world’s admiration. Now they are things of the past.