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World’s Top 20 container shipping lines
Friday, 15 January 2010 13:29

The world's 20 leading container shipping lines have seen their active capacity decrease by 2.4 percent over the last 12 months, mainly due to an increase in the idle fleet size.

On the other hand, their total operated fleet has risen by 1.6 percent since 2009, based on the carrier capacity rankings published by Alphaliner on January 1, 2010.

The combined capacity of the top 20 carriers rose to 10.81 million TEU on January 1, up from 10.63 million TEU in 2009, Alphaliner reported, adding that their "share of the overall liner capacity fell marginally from 81.6 percent of the global capacity to 79.2 percent."

The report said the idled capacity of these carriers currently stands at 743,000TEU, accounting for 6.9 percent of the shipping lines' operated fleet. The idle capacity for these carriers was 328,000TEU, or 3.1 percent of their fleet, on January 1, 2009.

Denmark's Maersk Line remains the world's top carrier with a market share of 15 percent, down from 15.6 percent the previous year.

 

Other highlights of the top 20 carrier list include APL rising from seventh to fifth position, overtaking Hapag-Lloyd and COSCO; Hanjin Shipping returned to ninth spot after dropping out of the top 10 in 2008.

Meanwhile "K" Line moved up from 13th to 11th place; CSAV rose from 16th to 13th place; and UASC edged up one notch from 20th to 19th position.

The report said: "CSAV, Zim, HMM and UASC gained market share based on total capacity operated, while two retained the same share - CMA CGM and YML- and the remaining 11 major carriers lost market share.

"Carriers that gained share however, were largely left with surplus tonnage as there were limited deployment options as demand remained depressed for most parts of last year and practically all trades were unprofitable.

"Capacity management will remain the key to the carriers' bid to return to profitability in 2010. The industry was badly affected by the over-capacity problem in 2009 as carriers were unable to reduce capacity quickly enough as demand fell. The problem was exacerbated by the heavy commitment to building new ships made by the carriers between 2007-2008.”

The order book of the top 20 carriers remains high at 35 percent of their existing operated fleet, with all described as having "significant commitments" to new ships, apart from Evergreen whose order book is empty.

Some of the orders are said to have been postponed to 2013 to 2014, however, a large part of the capacity is still scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011.

"In capacity terms, MSC and CMA CGM have the largest order book at 556,000TEU and 497,000TEU, respectively, with a large part of that new capacity due in the next two years," Alphaliner added.

Tracey Jia