Farm Progress

Container Ship Capacity Shrunk In 2009

Greg Lamp

February 1, 2010

1 Min Read

The active capacity of the world's 20 largest ocean container carriers shrunk by 2.4% over the past year, but there was relatively little change in their global market shares.

The top 20 lines actually boosted their combined fleets by 1.6% in the year to Jan. 1, 2010, but their effective capacity declined as they idled more vessels in response to lower cargo volume, according to Alphaliner, the Paris-based container shipping consultant.

The combined capacity of the top 20 reached 10.81 million 20-ft. equivalent units (TEUs) on Jan. 1, 2010, compared with 10.63 million TEUs a year ago.

The leading carriers idled capacity currently stands at 743,000 TEUs, equivalent to 6.9% of their operating fleet. This is more than double the 328,000 TEUs of idled capacity, or some 3.1% of the fleet, on Jan. 1, 2009.

There were no new entrants to Alphaliner's top 20 rankings, although as a group their share of total liner shipping capacity slipped from 81.6% to 79.2 % over the year.

Danish carrier Maersk Line retained its overall lead, followed by Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co. and then France's CMA CGM.

About the Author(s)

Greg Lamp

Greg grew up on a diversified crop and cattle operation in South Dakota, and has 22 years of experience covering the farming and livestock business. A graduate of South Dakota State University, he served as managing editor of BEEF magazine for five years, previously working for Farm Journal, Successful Farming and Feedlot Management magazines, as well as having served as an account executive with the Colle&McVoy advertising agency. Greg is the recipient of numerous writing and photography honors.

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