Maersk remains on top

APM-Maersk recorded the largest fleet growth, having added 392,000 TEU to its fleet, representing an 18 percent increase in capacity operated.

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The total container capacity of ships deployed on liner trades grew by 7.3 percent in 2011 to reach 15.90 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) according to Alphaliner, the Paris-based shipping consultancy.

Almost 97 percent of this capacity is concentrated on container vessels. The cellular fleet itself grew by 7.9 percent to reach 15.40 million TEU while the small component of non-cellular ships still deployed alongside the cellular ships has seen its capacity reduced by 9.5 percent.

The Top 20 carriers tightened their grip on the liner markets as their combined share of capacity grew to 84.2 percent from 83.1 percent a year earlier. Their capacity increased by 8.7 percent over the last twelve months.

APM-Maersk recorded the largest fleet growth, having added 392,000 TEU to its fleet, representing an 18 percent increase in capacity operated. Maersk’s market share recovered from 14.5 percent at the beginning of 2011 to 16.0 percent by the end of the year, as the shipping line sought to regain the market share it had lost over the past few years (which peaked at 18.2 percent at the end of 2005 in the wake of the purchase of PONL).

“The year saw a resurgent Maersk trying to re-assert its dominance with orders for 20 containerships of 18,000 TEU, contracted in two steps in February and June,” said said Alphaliner’s commercial director, Stephen Fletcher.

“In a departure from past practice, Maersk made no attempt to hide the actual capacity of the new ’EEE’-class vessels, sending a clear signal to the company’s rivals of its intention to maintain the lead in the liner market.

Its main rivals however did not sit still either, noted Fletcher, with the second-placed MSC adding 258,000 TEU or 14 percent to its operated fleet. Only three carriers in the Top 20 (CSAV, Zim and Hanjin Shipping) logged a fleet decrease during the year, with CSAV being the main loser, shedding 200,500 TEU or 35 percent of its fleet. CSAV has lost all of its 2010 market share gains as the carrier’s capacity share shrank from 3.9 percent to 2.4 percent and its global capacity rank slipped from seventh to 14th.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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