Category: shipping

Ranked: The World’s Largest Container Shipping Companies


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


infographic showing the largest container shipping companies

Visualizing the World’s Largest Container Shipping Companies

Did you know that 80% of the global goods trade is transported over sea? Given the scale of human consumption, this requires an enormous number of shipping containers, as well as ships to carry them.

At an industry level, container shipping is dominated by several very large firms. This includes Maersk, COSCO Shipping, and Evergreen. If you live along the coast, you’ve probably seen ships or containers with these names painted on them.

Generally speaking, however, consumers know very little about these businesses. This graphic aims to change that by ranking the 10 largest container shipping companies in the world.

Ranking the Top 10

Companies are ranked by two metrics. First is the number of ships they own, and second is their total shipping capacity measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). A TEU is based on the volume of a twenty-foot long shipping container.

The data used in this infographic comes from Alcott Global, a logistics consultancy. Fleet sizes are as of June 2021, while TEU capacity is from January 2022.

RankCompanyCountryTEUNumber of Ships
1Maersk🇩🇰 Denmark4.3M718
1MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company)🇨🇭 Switzerland4.3M606
3CMA CGM🇫🇷 France3.2M542
4COSCO Shipping🇨🇳 China2.9M497
5Hapag-Lloyd🇩🇪 Germany1.7M259
6Ocean Network Express🇯🇵 Japan1.5M218
7Evergreen Marine🇹🇼 Taiwan1.5M201
8HHM (Hyundai Merchant Marine)🇰🇷 South Korea0.8M79
9Yang Ming🇹🇼 Taiwan0.7M87
10Wan Hai Lines🇹🇼 Taiwan0.4M (Read more...)

Satellite Maps: Shanghai’s Supply Chain Standstill


This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist


Animated GIF shows Shanghai port traffic 2019 vs 2022

Satellite Maps: Shanghai’s Supply Chain Standstill

China has mandated a strict “zero COVID” policy since the onset of the global pandemic, which has led to tight lockdowns across the country whenever cases have started to spike.

Recently, lockdown restrictions have been enacted in major cities like Shenzhen and Shanghai, as China deals with one of its worst outbreaks since Wuhan in December 2019.

These cautionary measures have had far-reaching impacts on China’s economy, especially on its supply chain and logistics operations. Shanghai’s port system, which handles about one-fifth of China’s export containers, is currently experiencing significant delays as a result of the recent government lockdown.

Chart showing Shanghai port shipment volume falling after lockdowns

Shipping volume has dipped drastically since early March this year, right after partial lockdowns began in Shanghai. By the end of March, as restrictions continued to tighten up, shipping activity dipped nearly 30% compared to pre-lockdown levels. And while activity has recently picked up, it’s still far below average shipment volumes prior to the recent lockdown.

While the port is still technically operating, shipping delays will likely cause hiccups in the global supply chain. That’s because the Shanghai port is a major hub for international trade, and one of the largest and busiest container ports in the world.

How Bad is the Back-Up?

Here’s a closer look at satellite imagery that was captured by the Sentinel-1 satellite, which shows the current congestion at Shanghai’s port as of April 14, 2022. In the image, a majority of the white dots are cargo ships, many of which (Read more...)

Visualizing Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


amazon rising shipping costs

The Briefing

  • Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment costs have soared to over $150 billion
  • Global supply chain constraints have accelerated these costs, which are now 40x their 2009 levels

Visualizing Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs

Most investors would agree that Amazon has been a winner during the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, in two short years from 2019 to 2021, sales soared to $469 billion from $280 billion and their market cap surged towards a $1.7 trillion valuation.

But even the best of companies have had to navigate choppy waters and uncertainty during this time. For Amazon, this has come in the form of cost pressures in their shipping and fulfillment department, which are now representing an increasingly large share of revenues.

Just how large are Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment costs becoming?

In 2021, shipping and fulfillment costs added up to $151.8 billion. Shipping, which includes sortation, delivery centers, and transportation costs amounted to $76.7 billion. Fulfillment costs, which include cost of operating and staff fulfillment centers, were $75.1 billion.

As a result of these trends, Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment expenses now represent 32% of their revenues:

YearCost as a % of revenue
202132%
202031%
201928%
201827%
201726%
201625%
201523%
201422%
201320%
201219%
201118%

As you can see, costs are escalating, and today’s figure is almost twice that of the 18% figure seen in 2011.

Amazon Web Services to the Rescue

While these expenses are rising, it’s important to remember (Read more...)

Visualizing Congestion at America’s Busiest Port


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


America's Busiest Port

The Briefing

  • There are an estimated 540,000 shipping containers waiting in queue at the Port of Los Angeles
  • The port has been unable to keep up with increased shipments from overseas suppliers

The Busiest Port in America: Los Angeles

U.S. e-commerce grew by 32.4% in 2020—the highest annual growth rate in over two decades. Such rapid growth has resulted in many more goods being imported, leaving America’s western ports completely overwhelmed.

To help you understand the scale of this issue, we’ve visualized the number of containers waiting at sea in relation to the Port of Los Angeles’ daily processing capacity.

Stuck at Sea

As of November 2, 2021, the Port of Los Angeles reported that it had 93 vessels waiting in queue. Altogether, these ships have a maximum carrying capacity of roughly 540,000 containers (commonly measured in twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs).

On the other side of the equation, the port processed 468,059 import containers in September (the most recent data at the time of writing). Because the port does not operate on Sundays, we can conclude that the port can load roughly 18,000 containers each day.

That capacity seems unlikely to reduce the congestion. Over a two-week timeframe in September, 407,695 containers arrived at the Port of Los Angeles, which averages to around 29,000 containers arriving each day.

FigureApproximate Number of Containers
Current backlog540,000
Daily import arrivals29,000
Daily import capacity18,000
Daily increase in backlog11,000

What’s Being Done?

Solutions are needed to prevent the backlog (Read more...)

ISEE brings autonomy to shipping yards with self-driving container trucks



Robotaxis may still be a few years out, but there are other industries that can be transformed by autonomous vehicles as they are today. MIT spin-off ISEE has identified one in the common shipping yard, where containers are sorted and stored — today by a dwindling supply of human drivers, but tomorrow perhaps by the company’s purpose-built robotic yard truck. With new funding and partnerships with major shippers, the company may be about to go big.

Shipping yards are the buffer zone of the logistics industry. When a container is unloaded from a ship full of them, it can’t exactly just sit there on the wharf where the crane dropped it. Maybe it’s time sensitive and has to trucked out right away; maybe it needs to go through customs and inspections and must stay in the facility for a week; maybe it’s refrigerated and needs power and air hookups.

Each of these situations will be handled by a professional driver, hooking the container up to a short-haul truck and driving it the hundred or thousand meters to its proper place, an empty slot with a power hookup, long term storage, ready access for inspection, etc. But like many jobs in logistics, this one is increasingly facing a labor shortage as fewer people sign up for it every year. The work, after all, is fairly repetitive, not particularly easy, and of course heavy equipment can be dangerous.

ISEE’s co-founders Yibiao Zhao and Debbie Yu said they identified the logistics industry as (Read more...)

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


Suez canal map

The Briefing

  • The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most important waterways, connecting Asia and Europe
  • On March 23, 2021, the Ever Given container ship ran aground, blocking transit in both directions

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 200 vessels halted on either side of the canal, authorities are scrambling to dislodge the container ship and resume normal operations. This has proven to be a difficult task so far, and experts are warning that the process could take weeks.

What is the Suez Canal?

Constructed in 1869, the Suez Canal is an Egyptian sea-level waterway that provides a vital shipping route between Europe and Asia. Without this route, ships would need to sail around Africa, adding an entire week to their trips.

The connecting link between two important regional economies, the canal facilitates a significant amount of trade. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) reported that 19,000 vessels—averaging to 52 a day—had sailed through its waters in 2020.

YearNumber of VesselsAmount of Cargo (Tons)
201117,800692M
201217,224740M
201316,596754M
201417,148822M
201517,483823M
201616,833819M
(Read more...)

Founder Q&A: Dmitri Amariei and Prateek Gaur, Co-Founders of digital trade assistant CargoFlip


This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp


Dmitri Amariei and Prateek Gaur solve communication problems. No, not the ones you have with your colleague, spouse, or co-founder. Rather, Dmitri and Prateek focus on communication within the shipping industry. This is the idea behind Cargoflip, an all-in-one platform simplifying international trade for SMEs.

Dmitri Amariei (Co-Founder & CEO) and Prateek Gaur (Co-Founder & COO) met and developed the idea behind Cargoflip at Entrepreneur First (EF).

At Seedcamp, we are thrilled to support the Cargoflip team on their journey to disrupt global shipping alongside our friends at Underscore VC and Entrepreneur First. Dmitri and Prateek serve an important need for underserved SMEs, which are the backbone of global trade and have increased importance to play in the post-COVID economy. 

“We were excited by the notion that you could basically automate a lot of the legwork for SMEs through document management, information extraction and custom workflows,” our Associate Kyran Schmidt comments. “We saw this as the exciting first step in becoming a centre of gravity for the international trade ecosystem.”

In addition to the market opportunity, we were impressed by Dmitri and Prateek as founders. “We thought their backgrounds as senior operators and builders at some of Europe’s top scale-ups like Delivery Hero, AUTO1 and Taxfix was outstanding,” Kyran goes on to explain, “Given their massive passion for the space, Dmitri and Prateek were awesome founders to go after the opportunity.”

Recently, we got a chance to speak with the Cargoflip founders about their mission, product roadmap, and assessment (Read more...)