MSC rapidly expands its fleet of container ships. Is Maersk about to be dethroned?

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Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has ordered two container ships of 16,000 TEUs each. Including the earlier spring order, that’s now eight ships that will join the Owner’s fleet. MSC is beginning to be hot on the heels of the market leader Maersk, which currently has the greatest potential when it comes to sea transport.

MSC rapidly expands its fleet of container ships. Is Maersk about to be dethroned?
Photo: Pixabay

The vessels will be leased to the Italian-Swiss shipowner by CMB Financial Leasing, a company that is the leasing arm of China Merchants Bank (CMB). The ships will be built by the GSI shipyard in Guangzhou, China.

The shipyard said the two container ships will be sister ships to six vessels ordered for MSC in March this year.

Financial details of the latest order were not provided. However, 6 similar vessels were contracted for MSC in March for around $117m each. It was announced at the time that production of the container ships (366 metres long) was to begin in early 2022 and they would be delivered in 2023 and 2024.

In addition, MSC is quite active in the used container ship market. According to, the company has purchased 60 vessels since September 2020.

MSC currently operates a fleet of 197 owned vessels and 416 chartered vessels with a total capacity of 4.08 million TEUs.

According to industry portal Alphaliner, the Italian-Swiss company is currently expecting delivery of 47 vessels with a total capacity of 852,000 TEUs. Adding these container ships to MSC’s fleet would allow the company to leapfrog the leader in the shipowner ranking, which is Maersk of Denmark.

According to the Alphaliner ranking, in July 2021 Maersk was the world’s largest shipowner with a total capacity of 4.189 million TEUs. The Danish company has been much less active when it comes to developing its fleet, recently focusing on expanding into other segments of the supply chain, including the rail freight market.

Photo credits @ Pixabay

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