MSC is all set to be the first-ever container line to boast a fleet of 5 million TEU in capacity later in May, per analyst Alphaliner.
MSC successfully overtook Maersk and emerged as the world’s largest container carrier 16 months ago and continued its stream of secondhand purchases and new buildings. As a result, its fleet has continued to grow rapidly.
In the weekly newsletter, Alphaliner stated that MSC’s fleet was at 4,956,720 TEU across 753 vessels as of 16 May. The new buildings MSC Gemma and MSC Michel Cappelini, set to be delivered from the CSSC and Yangzijiang, respectively, would cross the 5 million TEU threshold before May end.
Keeping the size and growth of MSC’s fleet in perspective at 5 million TEU, it would be nearly equal to the global container shipping fleet at the turn of the millennium.
With a new building order book that comprises 127 vessels with a total capacity of about 1.66 million TEU, the six million TEU mark for the MSC fleet is not significantly over a year away.
The Alphaliner estimated that by the middle of 2024, it could reach a fleet size of 6 million TEUs, even though the exact timing depends on sales and vessel acquisitions.
The 2M Alliance with Maersk expires in early 2025, and the MSC is seen to have the scale to go it alone out of significant alliances, as it has indicated plans for doing so.
Unlike most other shipping lines within the top 10, MSC’s sheer scale will permit the carrier to offer appealing port pairs on crucial trade lanes without being part of another alliance set-up. The weekly report mentioned that the Alphaliner nevertheless expects the MSC to maintain selected smaller-scale collaborations on several trades.
References: Indian Shipping News, The EyeWitness News