Cosco Emerges as Biggest Container Carrier in Third Quarter - Global Trade Magazine
  December 8th, 2017 | Written by

Cosco Emerges as Biggest Container Carrier in Third Quarter

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  • Cosco loaded 23 percent more containers in the third quarter compared to the same period of 2016.
  • Maersk's volumes dropped 2.4 percent in the third quarter.
  • Maersk had its booking systems shut down for 12 days over the summer thanks to a cyber attack.

Cosco saw a 23-percent increase in container lifts in the third quarter of this year, allowing the Chinese container carrier to beat out Maersk Line for the top spot. Cosco carrier loaded 5.49 million TEU on the quarter, while Maersk came up short with 5.26 million TEU.

The maritime research firm Alphaliner reported Cosco loaded 23 percent more containers in the third quarter compared to the same period of 2016, while Maersk saw a drop of 2.4 percent. The Danish carrier had its booking systems shut down for 12 days over the summer thanks to a cyber attack. Maersk’s liftings in the first two weeks of July dropped as shippers booked cargo with other carriers.

But Maersk may still have come in runner-up position even if hadn’t fallen victim to the Petya ransomware attack.

Cosco may cement its position as top dog among container carriers with the acquisition of OOCL, a transaction which is expected to close soon. OOCL carried 1.6 million TEU in the third quarter. Maersk’s impending takeover of Hamburg Sud would add about one-million TEU to the total, at most.

Further down the standings, third-place CMA CGM’s volumes grew 11.6 percent in the third quarter to five-million TEU, while Hapag-Lloyd sits in fourth position with 2.81 million TEU and a whopping 44.2 percent increase in volume on the quarter, thanks to its merger with UASC.

But Hapag-Lloyd may be overtaken next year when the Japanese container lines K Line, MOL, and NYK merge their 3.6 million TEU into the Ocean Network Express (ONE) in April.

Second to Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) saw the biggest gains in the third quarter, with a 41.1-percent increase in volume to 1.05m TEU, and ranking eighth on Alphaliner’s list.

Its worth noting that Mediterranean Shipping Company, a privately-held concern and second to Maersk Line in deployed capacity, does not disclose its volumes or financials. If it did, it could rank number one in terms of container lifts.

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