Close this search box.

World’s Top 15 Container Shipping Companies in 2024

Largest Container Shipping Companies

Container shipping is the shipping method that transports about 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide. A container ship is a cargo ship that carries all of its load in containers. They are the common means of commercial freight transport that carries most seagoing non-bulk cargo.


The capacity of a container ship is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU); this unit of measure is based on the dimensions of a standard container (ISO standard containers – height 8.5 feet, width 8 feet, and length 20 feet which represents an approximate volume of 38.5 cubic meters). The typical loads of a container ship are a mix of 20-foot and 40-foot (2-TEU). The largest modern container ships can carry over 23,000 TEU.


List of the 15 largest container shipping companies


The following is a list of the 15 largest container shipping companies, ranked in order of the TEU capacity of their fleet.


Rank Company name Headquarters Total
Ships Market
1 Maersk  Denmark 4,121,964 709 16.9%
2 Mediterranean Shipping Company   Switzerland,  Italy 3,897,002 588 16.0%
3 CMA CGM  France 3,011,123 557 12.4%
4 COSCO  China 3,009,071 499 12.4%
5 Hapag-Lloyd  Germany 1,776,545 256 7.3%
6 Ocean Network Express  Japan 1,610,578 222 6.6%
7 Evergreen Marine  Taiwan 1,330,785 200 5.5%
8 HMM Co Ltd.  South Korea 750,872 74 3.1%
9 Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation  Taiwan 630,169 90 2.6%
10 Zim Integrated Shipping Services  Israel 422,926 98 1.7%
11 Wan Hai Lines  Taiwan 364,379 131 1.5%
12 Pacific International Lines  Singapore 248,410 79 1.0%
13 Zhonggu Logistics Corp.  China 168,265 114 0.7%
14 Korea Marine Transport Company  South Korea 156,381 66 0.6%
15 IRISL Group  Iran 149,042 32 0.6%


1. Maersk Line




Maersk Line is a Danish shipping company and the world’s largest container shipping company by both fleet size and cargo capacity. Maersk Line operates over 786 vessels and has a total capacity of 4.1 million TEUs. Maersk offers services to 374 ports in 116 countries worldwide and employs approximately 31,600, where 7,000 of which are vessel crew and the other 24,600 are processing personnel.


The iconic Maersk E-class vessel Emma Maersk was delivered to Maersk Line in 2006; it was the largest container ship in the world at that time. Seven other sisterships have since been built from the same class. In 2011, Maersk ordered twenty larger container ships of Triple E class from Daewoo shipyard with a capacity of 18,000 containers. The first of these Triple E Class ships was delivered in 2013 and was christened with the name Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller.


2. Mediterranean Shipping Company “MSC.”




Mediterranean Shipping Company “MSC” is a Swiss-Italian shipping line. MSC operates 471 container vessels with a capacity of 2,435,000 TEUs calling all major ports of the world. Besides, the company has a division called MSC Cruises that focuses on holiday cruises. MSC operates 480 offices across 155 countries worldwide with over 28,000 employees.






CMA CGM is a French container transportation and shipping company. CMA CGM operates 257 shipping routes between 420 ports in 160 different countries. The company headquarters are in Marseille, and its North American headquarters are in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. The name is an acronym of two predecessor companies, Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA) and Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM), which translates as “Maritime Freighting Company” and “General Maritime Company”.


4. COSCO Shipping Lines




COSCO SHIPPING Lines Co. is a Chinese multinational ocean container shipping company. COSCO SHIPPING Lines was established in 2016 by the merger of COSCO Container Lines and China Shipping Container Lines. COSCO operates 502 container ships with 3.0 million TEUs. The company operated in 255 international routes, calling at 356 ports in 105 countries. COSCO SHIPPING Lines has placed a construction order for several mega-ships, such as COSCO Shipping Taurus of 20,000 TEUs capacity and Universe-class container ships of 21,000 TEUs capacity.


5. Hapag-Lloyd




Hapag-Lloyd AG is a German shipping and container transportation company. Hapag-Lloyd was formed in 1970 through a merger of the Hamburg-American Line (HAPAG) and North German Lloyd container lines. Hapag-Lloyd transports containerized cargo on several major trade routes around the world. It has a prominent market presence and brand recognition in Latin America, Middle East, Trans-Atlantic, and the trans-Pacific trades.


6. Ocean Network Express


Ocean Network Express


Ocean Network Express Holdings, Ltd. (ONE) is a Japanese container transportation and shipping company. ONE was formed in 2016 as a joint venture, inheriting the container shipping operations of its parent companies and had a combined fleet size of 1.4 million TEUs. ONE operates 240 container vessels, including 31 container ships with a capacity of around 14,000 TEUs or higher, of which 6 have 20,000 TEUs capacity. ONE holding paints all its newly launched ships and container equipment in a recognizable magenta color.


7. Evergreen Lines




Evergreen Marine Corporation is a Taiwanese container transportation and shipping company. Evergreen operates over 178 container ships and calls on 240 ports worldwide in about 80 countries with over 439,538 twenty-foot equivalent units. In 2007, Hatsu, Italia Marittima, and Evergreen were merged into the single “Evergreen Line.” The majority of Evergreen’s shipping containers are painted green with the word “Evergreen” placed on the sides in white letters.


8. HMM Shipping Lines


HMM Shipping Lines


HMM, Co is a South Korean container transportation and shipping company. HMM moves the largest portion of South Korea’s exports, becoming the number one Korean national container carrier. In 2020, HMM had built and launched one of the world’s two largest container ships in terms of TEU capacity, the HMM Algeciras with a maximum TEU capacity of 23,964, and the HMM Copenhagen with a maximum capacity of 23,820 TEUs.


9. Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation




Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation is a Taiwanese ocean shipping company that was founded in 1972. Yang Ming operates 101 container ships with a TEU capacity of up to 14,000 and a total fleet capacity of 643,000 TEUs. The Yang Ming Group includes container terminals in Taiwan, Belgium, Netherlands, and the USA. Yang Ming’s service scope covers over 70 nations with more than 170 service points.


10. Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.




Zim Integrated Shipping Services, commonly known as ZIM, is an Israeli international cargo shipping company. Zim Integrated Shipping operates 70 container ships with a total fleet capacity of 344,460 TEUs.


11. Wan Hai Shipping Lines




Wan Hai Lines is a Taiwanese ocean shipping company that was founded in 1965 and has become one of the largest players in the container shipping industry, with a fleet of 72 vessels and a capacity of 180,000 TEUs. In 2018, Wan Hai Lines announced an order for twenty new ships, of which eight larger and 12 small feeder ships.


12. Pacific International Shipping Lines




Pacific International Lines (PIL) is a Singaporean shipping company that was founded in 1967. PIL initially operated two ships but constantly expanded its fleet to celebrate its first 50 years of history in 2017 and rank within the first 12 largest container shipping lines.


PIL operates around 95 vessels, including container, dry bulk, and multi-purpose ships with a capacity of more than 400,000 TEUs. PIL employs over 18,000 staff globally, regularly serving about 500 ports in nearly 100 countries worldwide. In 2015, PIL partially took over Singapore’s Mariana Express Lines (MELL) ownership and acquired the majority shareholding.


13. Zhonggu Logistics




Zhonggu Logistics Corp. is a Chinese ocean container shipping company that was founded in 2003.

Zhonggu Logistics covers more than 100 ports of provinces and cities in China, with more than 200 offices and branches throughout China, with nearly 2,000 employees. Zhonggu Logistics operates more than 120 container ships.


14. Korea marine transport company




Korea marine transport company (KMTC) is a South Korean container transportation and shipping company establishment in 1954. KMTC operates 66 container ships with a total fleet capacity of 156,381 TEUs.


15. The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line “IRISL.”




The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line Group, commonly known by IRISL Group, is an Iranian shipping line with a fleet comprises of 115 ocean-going vessels with a total capacity of 149,042 TEUs, with 87 being ocean-going vessels owned by IRISL and the remaining 28 ships being owned under the flags of subsidiary companies.


Similar Article: 13 Notable Ship Canals That You Should Know.



Share This Article
About The Author
Picture of Workshop Insider

Workshop Insider

Founded on the core mission of connecting mechanical engineers globally to share knowledge and experience. Our Authors are qualified Mechanical Engineers, Marine Engineers, Welding Engineers "CSWIP Certified", Coating Inspectors "NACE CIP LII" & NDT Experts "ASNT NDT LIII Certified".
Related Articles

Workshop Insider Newsletter

Be a Workshop Insider! Get our latest collection of news and announcements delivered to your inbox...

Follow Us!

Latest Articles

Get Your Copy of Our​


Guide to MIG Welding


Workshop Insider MIG Book