It’s no surprise that shipping companies are an important part of the global supply chain. With 6,255 vessels and 24.94 million + TEU capacity, these container shipping companies currently move a large variety of goods and products around the world.

Here is a list of the world’s 10 largest container shipping companies by TEU capacity, according to Alphaliner (Aug. 28, 2021)

1.Maersk – 4,229,171 TEU (734 vessels)

Head Office Copenhagen, Denmark
Number of offices worldwide 296
Number of active employees More than 83,000
The year of establishment 1904

A.P. Muller Maersk has been the largest container shipping company for the past 25 years, transporting almost 20 percent of the world’s food, materials and cargo in 130 countries.

The Copenhagen-based logistics leader has more than 900 subsidiaries, including APM Terminals, Hamburg Süd, Damco, Svitzer and Seago Line. maersk did not get involved in the container industry until 1975, when its first container ship, Adrian Maersk, departed with 385 containers on board Newark, USA. Today, the company’s largest vessel, the Madrid Maersk, has a capacity of 20,568 TEU.

Maersk’s largest vessel: Maersk Madrid – 20,568 TEU


2.Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) – 4,101,961 TEU (615 vessels)

Head Office Geneva, Switzerland
Number of offices worldwide 524
Number of active employees More than100,000
The year of establishment 1970

MSC has grown from a single-ship operator to the second largest container carrier, with 615 vessels calling at 500 ports on 215 trade routes and transporting approximately 21.5 million TEUs annually.

MSC and Maersk form the world’s largest container alliance, called the 2M Alliance.

The Swiss company currently has 51 ships on order with a total capacity of 917,200 TEU. This means that after more than 20 years, the company is expected to overtake its alliance partner Maersk and become the world’s largest container shipping company.

MSC’s largest vessel: MSC Gulsun – 23,756 TEU


3.CMA CGM-2,988,567TEU539 vessels

Head Office Marseille, France
Number of offices worldwide 755
Number of active employees More than 110,000
The year of establishment 1978

CMA CGM is the third largest container shipping company in the world. It takes its name from Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA) and Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM), meaning “maritime company” and “general maritime company “.

The French shipping group has established a global presence in the maritime industry with 538 vessels providing 285 services to 420 ports, while transporting nearly 21 million TEUs annually. LNG-powered ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs).

The nine vessels are the company’s largest, with CMA CGM Jacques Saade being the first vessel in the series to be delivered and the company’s flagship vessel.

CMA CGM’s largest vessel: CMA CGM Jacques Saade – 23,000 TEU


4.COSCO – 2,975,210 TEU (490 vessels)

Head Office Shanghai,China
Number of offices worldwide more than 400
Number of active employees more than 118,000
The year of establishment 1961

COSCO is now the fourth largest shipping company in the world, operating 54 domestic routes and 264 international routes in 329 ports in 105 countries.

COSCO Sea-China’s state-owned container shipping company joined the Ocean Alliance in 2017, making it one of the traditional giants in the shipping industry.

COSCO’s largest vessel: COSCO Universe – 21,237 TEU


5.Hapag-Lloyd – 1,782,896 TEU (260 vessels)

Head Office Hamburg, Germany
Number of offices worldwide 394
Number of active employees More than 13,000
The year of establishment 1970

Hapag Lloyd was founded in 1970 through the merger of the German shipping companies Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft (Hapag) and Norddeutscher Lloyd.

Hapag Lloyd, which ranks first among Germany’s largest shipping companies and fifth globally, recently expanded its operations through the acquisitions of Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores (CSAV) in 2014, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) in 2016, and NileDutch Transport & Shipping earlier this year.

The Hamburg-based liner operator transports 11.8 million TEU per year, has 260 vessels, offers 121 services and calls at more than 600 ports on all continents.

Hapag-Lloyd’s largest vessel: Al Dahna – 19,870 TEU


6.ONE(Ocean Network Express)-1,587,172TEU(217 vessels)

Head Office Singapore
Number of offices worldwide 217
Number of active employees More than 14,000
The year of establishment 2017

Founded in 2017 as a result of the integration of three major shipping lines – K Line, MOL and NYK – ONE has become the sixth largest container carrier in the world in less than three years and has become a focal point of the global logistics industry.

Since then, the Singapore-based liner operator has a network of services covering more than 120 countries and offices in 42 countries worldwide, aiming to further expand its global reach.

ONE’s largest vessel: MOL Treasure – 20,182 TEU


7.Evergreen-1,399,999TEU209 vessels

Head Office China, Taiwan, Taipei
Number of offices worldwide 80
Number of active employees More than 10,000
The year of establishment 1968

Founded in 1968 with only one vessel in its fleet, Central Trust, the Taiwan-based Chinese shipowner merged Evergreen Marine Corporation, Hatsu and Italia Marittima into a single “Evergreen Line” in 2007.

Today, Evergreen serves more than 315 locations in a wide range of trade lanes worldwide, and the 2018 Ever Golden is the company’s largest container ship with a capacity of 20,000 TEU.

Evergreen’s largest vessel: Ever Golden – 20,000 TEU


8.HMM-825,060TEU78 vessels

Head Office Seoul, Korea
Number of offices worldwide 72
Number of active employees More than 1,500
The year of establishment 1976

Formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine, HMM is the eighth largest shipping company in the world, operating services in 110 countries with 24 subsidiaries and three container terminals worldwide.

The Seoul-based carrier currently owns 12 of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced container ships, each with a maximum capacity of 24,000 TEU.

HMM’s largest vessel: HMM Algeciras – 23,964 TEU

9.YANGMING-625,332TEU87 vessels

Head Office China, Taiwan, Keelung
Number of offices worldwide 228
Number of active employees More than 6,400
The year of establishment 1972

Yang Ming Marine, which ranks ninth among the world’s largest carriers, is part of THE Alliance along with Hapag-Lloyd, ONE and HMM, offering services in more than 70 countries and 170 ports.

Although the Taiwanese shipowner’s services mainly involve intra-Asian traffic, it is permanently expanding its route network with the opening of a new subsidiary in France this year, demonstrating Yang Ming’s intention to strengthen its presence in Europe.

Yang Ming’s largest vessel: YM Wellbeing-14,220 TEU

10.WANHAI-425,221TEU149 vessels

Head Office China, Taiwan, Taipei
Number of offices worldwide 108
Number of active employees More than 5,000
The year of establishment 1965

Founded in 1965, Wan Hai Shipping began as a log carrier between Taiwan, Japan and Southeast Asia, but in 1976 it became an all-container carrier to meet the demand for international trade in containers.

Today, the Taipei-based shipping company ranks among the top ten container shipping companies in the world, while expanding its services in Canada, the United States, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Wan Hai’s largest ship: Paranagua Express – 11,923 TEU