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COSCO could surpass CMA CGM as third largest container line

China’s COSCO group could overtake French carrier CMA CGM as the third-biggest container line if the latter does not acquire more ships.

COSCO now has 2.97 million TEU of total operating capacity, compared with CMA CGM’s 3.01 million TEU, according to Alphaliner.

However, COSCO’s owned fleet stands at 1.55 million TEU, compared with 1.23 million TEU for CMA CGM. The rest of the capacities come from chartered vessels.

Therefore, apart from the upcoming change in the number-one spot in liner shipping, with MSC dethroning Maersk after almost two decades, we will possibly see rearrangements in lower rankings, too.

Source: Alphaliner

On 2 September, COSCO's subsidiary, OOCL contracted ten 16,000TEU ships at affiliated shipyards Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering and Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering for US$158 million each.

OOCL’s parent company, Orient Overseas International Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the orders are in line with the group’s 14th Five Year Plan, which would, among other things, increase its fleet capacity and consolidate its market position.

Including a dozen 23,000TEU ships that OOCL ordered in 2020, six 14,000TEU and four 16,000TEU ships that COSCO Shipping Lines contracted from affiliate COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Yangzhou) on 15 July, the COSCO group’s orderbook now stands at 585,272TEU, while CMA CGM’s orderbook totals 525,452TEU.

Top 10: The largest shipping lines in the world

Assuming that CMA CGM does not order or acquire more ships, COSCO’s owned ships will increase to 2.14 million TEU when all the newbuildings are delivered by 2024, while CMA CGM’s owned fleet will grow to 1.76 million TEU.

Including chartered ships, COSCO’s total operating capacity could reach 3.56 million TEU in 2024, pipping CMA CGM, which would have 3.54 million TEU of capacity.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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