CMA CGM sets course to overtake Maersk in shipping company rankings Ship’s crew

From Mike Wackett (The Loadstar) –

With its massive backlog of 122 vessels with a capacity of 1.24 million teu, CMA CGM is on track to overtake Maersk as the second largest container line in the world.

And with Ocean Alliance partners Cosco and Evergreen boasting the third and fourth largest order books – 927,000 TEU and 840,000 TEU respectively – the total capacity of the shipping community group will be immense.

According to Alphaliner, the French carrier now has a fleet of 625 ships with a total nominal capacity of 3.5 million TEUs, compared to Maersk’s 683 ships and a capacity of 4.1 million TEUs.

However, Maersk’s backlog is just 33 vessels with a capacity of 405,000 TEU as the company focuses on replacing tonnage with green, methanol-fuelled vessels and continues its quest to become a global integrator.

“Based on a forecast of ship deliveries, CMA CGM is expected to reach a fleet of 4 million TEU by the end of 2024 or early 2025,” Alphaliner said. “Assuming half of CMA CGM’s order book is dedicated to growth and the other half to fleet replacement, the airline would stabilize at around 4.2 million TEU fleet capacity by the end of 2026.”

This would move CMA CGM past Maersk as the second largest airline after MSC, provided the Danish operator sticks to its promise not to increase its fleet beyond current levels.

In addition to its huge order backlog of new tonnage, CMA CGM has been aggressively active in the used containership and charter markets over the past three years, reinvesting a significant portion of its pandemic-related profits into organic growth.

In fact, contacts from S&P brokers have reported this The Loadstar that the French airline has been the most proactive in the used market after MSC, acquiring around 105 ships since August 2020, according to Alphaliner data. The consultant said the nominal capacity of these vessels is 427,000 TEU and the size ranges from 1,000 to 14,000 TEU.

Additionally, CMA CGM has dominated the charter market. This year alone, brokers have completed more than 170 charter flights for the French liner, significantly more than their competitors.

In fact, many of its recent charter flights have been for smaller sizes, under 5,000 TEU, as part of its extensive network of secondary and niche services in Africa and Latin America. And the official incorporation of its intra-European shortsea subsidiary Containerships under the CMA CGM brand is intended to encourage further development of its shortsea routes and more hub-and-spoke feeders with their own tonnage.

Meanwhile, a significant drop in airline profits in Q2 and a depressing second-half outlook could mean the liner industry sees another round of consolidation, with weaker lines unable to compete with their cash-strapped predators or to withstand the reach of affluent predators extensive networks of global trading companies.

The Loadstar is recognized at the highest levels of logistics and supply chain management as one of the finest sources of influential analysis and commentary.

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