Size is not the main goal, shippers say, as MSC prestige Maersk By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: MSC Container Ship Passes Through Suez Canal Near Fishermen and Their Boat, Ismailia, Egypt, July 7, 2021. REUTERS / Amr Abdallah Dalsh

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Swiss container group MSC has overtaken Denmark’s Maersk as the world’s largest freight forwarder, the company said, confirming data from intelligence supplier Alphaliner.

After receiving several ships last year, the MSC or Mediterranean Shipping Company has the capacity to move the equivalent of 4.284 million twenty-foot containers, Alphaliner said. That can be compared to Maersk’s 4.282 million.

Both companies, which according to Alphaliner hold a market share of about 17%, said size is not the goal.

Asked for comment, Maersk, who has been the biggest shipper for decades, referred to the comments of CEO Soren Skou in May.

“I would like to be the CEO of the world’s largest shipping and logistics company and I believe I have a good chance of keeping it for some time to come,” said Skou.

“Our goal is not to be number 1. Our goal is to do a good job for our clients, giving strong returns and not just being a decent company for all other stakeholders doing business with Maerska.”

Bottlenecks caused by rising demand for consumer goods as the world emerges from the initial impact of the pandemic have brought container transport rates to record highs.

MSC, privately owned by the Aponte family, said in an e-mail statement that it appeared in the world’s largest container carrier after investing in new ultra-large vessels “to meet accelerated global trade and specific customer demand for our services.”

“At MSC, we have never set a specific goal to be the biggest. Growth, profitability and customer support are what drives us,” said MSC CEO Soren Toft, who joined the Maersk company in late 2020.

Since 2016, Maersk has sold its oil and gas business and bought warehouses to transform into an integrated logistics company rather than a conglomerate.

It owns most of its container capacity, while MSC has leased about two-thirds of its capacity, Alphaliner said.

Alphaliner says CMA CGM and Cosco are the third and fourth largest container shipping companies with 12.6% and 11.6% market share, respectively.

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