Nov 13, 2013

Top ten shipping companies

3 min
Ship-shape shipping companies
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Swiss company MSC operates 474 vessels and has a capacity of 2,326,849 

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)

Swiss company MSC operates 474 vessels and has a capacity of 2,326,849 twenty-foot equivalent units. 

It employs a total of 30,000 people and prides itself upon growing organically, with no mergers or acquisitions. 

The Geneva-based Swiss company operates in all major ports of the world, but its most important port is Antwerp in Belgium.


A French company employing 18,000 and with 2012 revenue of €15.9 billion, it has a history of mergers, government involvement and finally privatisation. To date, it has acquired 16 subsidiaries including Australian National Lines.

It offers shipping lines dedicated to certain markets, eco-friendly bamboo-floor containers and information technology tools like the eco-calculator. 

Evergreen Line

Taiwanese company Evergreen employs roughly 4,000 people and had 2012 revenue of US $4.5 billion, specializing in shipping routes from East Asia to the Americas and Europe

It is the unified common trade name for the four shipping companies of the Evergreen Group, Evergreen Marine Corp (Taiwan) Ltd, Italia Marittima S.p.A, Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd and Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong) Ltd.


The German company operates more than 150 modern ships, with five million TEU transported in a year and around 7,000 motivated staff at more than 330 locations in 114 countries. All of this is networked through an IT system that is the industry leader.


China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company is owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China , and is the country’s largest shipping company.

The company’s website claims that COSCO owns more than 1,000 companies and branches in over 50 countries and regions and hires 130,000 employees in total.

Hanjin Shipping

The South Korean company employs 6,000 people in 60 different countries and 230 branch offices. It claims to be constantly pursuing change and innovation, with its efforts to provide advanced services demonstrated in its eco-friendly, state-of-the-art vessels, logistics IT system and automated terminals. 

APL (American President Lines)

APL, with more than 160 years experience, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines. It  operates marine terminals at ten strategic points around the world, Dutch Harbor in Alaska US, Oakland US, San Pedro US, Seattle US, Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Kobe in Japan, Yokohama Japan, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Laem Chabang in Thailand and Qingdao in China.

China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL)

Supposedly free from governmental control, this company has grown rapidly in recent years. Most recently it, along with United Arab Shipping Company, ordered five of the largest container ships in the world – even bigger than the much publicized Maersk Triple E Class – from Hyundai Heavy Industries. Its current fleet comprised more than 150 vessels with a total operating capacity of 600,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit, based on the volume of 20-foot-long intermodal containers).

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC)

A US$2 billion new-build contract for some of the largest and environmentally friendly vessels in the world was recently signed between the United Arab Shipping Company  and Hyundai Heavy Industries .

The order is worth more than US$ 2 billion including all options and features vessels that will be amongst the largest, most technologically advanced and most environmentally friendly container vessels ever built.


To give it its full title, A.P Moller-Maersk Group, is a Danish business conglomerate that employs 121,000 people, and generated US $59 billion in revenue in 2012.

Maersk Group has four core businesses, Maersk Line, APM Terminals, Maersk Oil and Maersk Drilling.

The company states that is business success is “built on a number of strengths: our size and global reach, our financial strength, our talented employees, our time-honoured values, our approach to sustainability and our drive to innovate.”

"Container shipping and related activities" is the largest business area for Maersk and provides roughly  half of the group's revenue. The brand names Safmarine and Damco are subsidiaries of the Danish company.

It also recently launched a computer game called Quest for Oil, the first game of its kind which gives the chance to experience the challenging world of being on a drilling rig with its 53,000 tonnes of steel rammed into the bottom of the ocean. 

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Aug 24, 2018

Top 10 air freight carriers

Supply Chain
James Henderson
5 min
Supply Chain |Digital runs down the world's top 10 air freight carriers
10. Cargolux Group

10. Cargolux Group

The Luxembourgish freight carrier Cargolux Group (comprised of Cargolux Airlines and Cargolux Italia, established in 2008) remained in the number 10 spot, with a total reported FTK (Freight Tonne Kilometer) equaling 7.45 bn, which represents a 7.7% expansion year-over-year. The carrier group currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft (26 through Cargolux Airlines and an addition four through Cargolux Italia), primarily variants of the Boeing 747.

9. Korean Air

Headquartered in Seoul, Korean Air provides cargo and passenger services to over 100 destinations in 44 countries. The carrier fell from eighth place in the previous year’s rankings, with a total FTK of 7.66 bn, representing a 7.1% decrease year-over-year. Korean Air reported a net revenue of $10.7bn in 2017, also reporting a return to profitability for the first time in five years, according to Forbes.

 8. Air France-KLM

The Air France-KLM freight carrier group was founded in 1947. The group is comprised of Air France, KLM, and Martinair, and is based in Paris, France. Falling from seventh place in the Freight 50 rankings, the carrier reported a total FTK of 8.13 bn, which represents a 9.2% decrease in traffic year-over-year. The group reported a net revenue of $29.08bn at the end of 2017 and is ranked #28 on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best Employers.

7. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, the nationally owned airline of the Kingdom of Qatar is based in Doha, and ascended two places in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 9.22 bn, representing a 19.6% increase in comparison to the previous financial year. The carrier’s Cargo division recently launched facilities at its hub in Doha to provide a “Seamless Cool Chain”, comprised of a “2,470 square metres Climate Control Centre situated at the airside… equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals and perishables.” This end-to-end supply chain control is expected to further improve Qatar’s standing as a leader of Middle Eastern air freight.

6. Lufthansa Group

Based in Cologne, Germany, the Lufthansa Group (comprised of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines) fell from the fourth position in the Freight 50, with a combined FTK of 9.46 bn. While this represents a 1.6% increase in traffic, year-over-year, the carrier was forced down the list by drastic growth from other German freight company, DHL. According to Forbes, Lufthansa’s revenue and net profits ($41.5 bn and $2.78 bn, respectively) in 2017 are both the highest reported by the company over a ten-year period.

5. Cathay Group

The Cathay Group (composed of Cathay Pacific Airlines and Dragonair) is headquartered in Hong Kong and its Cargo division accounts for 21% of the airline’s total revenue. The company’s first dedicated cargo flight between Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London, was established in 1981, according to the official site. Now, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Division services over 47 destinations worldwide. The carrier fell from the fourth position on the Freight 50 ranking, as its total FTK fell by 3.6%, to 10.21 bn. According to Forbes, Cathay Pacific experienced a second year of unprofitability, although the airline’s asset portfolio reached a record high in 2017, with a net value of $24.1bn.

4. DHL Express Group

Operating as the largest European carrier group, DHL Express Group (composed of DHL Air, DHL International, Air Hong Kong, Polar Air Cargo, ABX Air, Southern Air, Aerologic, and EAT Leipzig) rose two positions in the Freight 50 rankings. The carrier reported a total FTK of 10.56 bn, which represents an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. In 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show, DHL Express announced the purchase of 14 Boeing 777s, part of a new strategy to modernise its fleet.

3. UPS Airlines

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS Airlines is part of United Parcel Service, Inc. Founded in 1908, UPS is the oldest company in the Top Ten, and retained third place in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 11.26 bn. This represents a 3.9% increase year-over-year. The Company as a whole reported a net revenue of $67.7 bn, according to Forbes, representing a continuation of a ten-year trend of continuous growth. Forbes also ranks UPS among the world’s top 100 most-innovative companies, and the world’s top 50 most-valuable brands.

2. Emirates Skycargo

The state-owned air freight carrier for the UAE, Emirates Skycargo remains in second place on the Freight 50, with a total FTK of 12.27 bn, representing a 0.4% decrease year-over-year. The carrier’s central hub in Dubai allows its 259-strong fleet to reach over 1.5 bn consumers in under eight hours. Current purchasing plans are underway for Emirates Skycargo to almost double its fleet size. According to Albawaba, “In response to increasing demand from its customers, Emirates SkyCargo introduced a range of air transport solutions specific to industry verticals including Emirates Pharma, Emirates Wheels and Emirates Fresh.” Emirates Wheels has transported close to 150 cars per month since the program’s inception.

1. FedEx Express

Founded in 1998, FedEx Express is both the youngest and largest air freight carrier worldwide, with a total FTK of 15.71 bn. Haulage decreased by 0.9% year-over-year, while revenue increased to $60.5 bn in 2016, and again to $63.8 bn in 2017, continuing an eight-year growth trend. FedEx employs 395,000 members of staff, with FedEx Express operating across twelve transport hubs globally. The carrier purchased an additional 24 Boeing 777 variants in 2018, maintaining their company’s position as the largest airline in terms of cargo haulage.

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