Just 16 months after surpassing Maersk to become the world’s largest container line in terms of space capacity, MSC will soon reach new heights as its fleet of vessels rapidly approaches the 5 million teu mark.
MSC’s fleet of 753 owned and chartered container ships stood at exactly 4,956,720 TEUs on May 16 and impending deliveries of MSC MICHEL CAPPELLINI (of YZJ) and MSC GEMMA (of CSSC) will push the carrier over the threshold. symbolic before the end. of May. The two megamax ships will begin their respective maiden voyages on ‘Lion’ and ‘Jade’ services on May 30.
However, MSC’s growth ambitions will not stop at this point and the Swiss shipping giant’s 1.66 Mteu order book of at least 127 vessels could see it reach a fleet of 6.00 Mteu by mid-2024, based solely on deliveries of new construction.
However, the actual growth of the carrier’s fleet will also depend on a number of other factors, including second-hand tonnage acquisitions, vessel chartering, as well as the sale of ships and the return of chartered ships to their owners. .
With a fleet size likely to be over 6.00 Mteu by the end of 2024, when the 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement with Maersk expires, MSC will be well positioned to operate an independent network with a global reach.
Unlike most other shipping lines in the top ten, MSC’s sheer scale will allow the carrier to offer attractive port pairs on all key trade routes without joining another alliance setup. However, Alphaliner expects MSC to maintain select partnerships on a smaller scale in a series of deals.
Founded in 1970, it took MSC some 37 years to reach a fleet capacity of 1.00 Mteu in January 2007. Just four and a half years later, MSC surpassed the 2.00 Mteu mark in July 2011. The 3 milestone .00 Mteu followed in July 2011. May 2017 and 4.00 Mteu in July 2021, half a year before MSC became world number one ahead of Maersk with 4.28 Mteu.
These numbers must be seen in the context of the overall development of the liner shipping industry over the past decades, in which the world fleet of vessels has increased fivefold in the last 25 years.
Today’s global containership fleet numbers no less than 6,596 units and 26.91 Mteu, compared to only around 5.00 Mteu at the turn of the millennium. In other words: MSC’s fleet will soon be larger than the world’s fleet of vessels was at the time the airline celebrated its 30th birthday.
Adding MSC’s 1.66 Mteu order book to its 5.00 Mteu fleet and factoring in a number of expected charters would theoretically bring the Swiss-Italian airline to a fleet size of about 6.75 Mteu at the end of 2025.
In reality, however, MSC is expected to dispose of numerous aging ships in the sub-8,000 teu size class in the coming years as it strives to increase fuel efficiency and further its transition to alternative “green” fuels. Therefore, the carrier’s fleet could stabilize around the 6.00 Mteu mark for the foreseeable future.