Top 10 International Container Shipping Companies

One of the most noteworthy advancements in the maritime freight industry is the introduction of container shipping. To ensure the safety and security of the cargo supplies being transported, container ships have revolutionized how cargo supplies are carried and transported around the world. Some of the largest shipping companies in the world now focus primarily on containerized freight. 


The size of the international market for shipping containers increased from $10.24 billion in 2022 to $11.18 billion in 2023, growing at a 9.1% CAGR.


With the rapid evolution of global e-commerce and the rising international trade, the outflow of goods and services is at an all-time high,

and maritime shipping is certainly the most preferred and affordable mode of moving goods over long distances. Therefore,

the importance of container shipping companies is increasing with time and businesses need to know about the best global container shipping companies to scale high in the global markets. 


This blog will provide a comprehensive outlook on the various aspects of container shipping, its significance in international courier services, and the leading companies in the maritime shipping industry.


Role of Container Shipping in The Global Transportation Industry 


A container ship’s primary function in the supply chain is to link the world economies altogether. The main physical connection between goods produced globally and their end users is led by container ships, which transport cargo across oceans. The importance of the container ship in the age of air freight may go unnoticed by ordinary observers.


However, it is still believed that ships are still used to move more than 80% of all goods across international waters. This suggests that the global shipping sector continues to play a crucial role in supply chain Management.


Every region of the world has carrier ships that are continually navigating its oceans.

The Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Strait of Malacca are a few of the most heavily trafficked areas.


Advantages of Container or Cargo Shipping


Although air freight is undoubtedly faster than sea freight, it normally costs around five times as much. It is crucial to remember that heavier loads result in greater savings. Another benefit of sea freight is its immense versatility, which allows for the transportation of heavy loads, irregularly shaped objects, hefty loads, hazardous commodities, and more.


This brings us to the next point, which is capacity because container ships’ sheer size allows them to carry more cargo and stacks of containers both above and below deck.


Ecological sustainability is also a major benefit of maritime shipping. According to studies, cargo ships are the most eco-friendly mode of transportation. They have a carbon footprint that is 20 to 30 times smaller than that of airplanes. 


Top 10 International Container Shipping Companies 

  • NimbusPost


Leading from the front in the Indian logistics industry, NimbusPost is emerging as a global leader in global shipping and warehouse fulfillment. Their international courier service and warehouse fulfillment centre span about 196+ countries, collaboration with 14+ global courier partners, and quick API integration with major e-commerce marketplaces. Nimbus FF+ is a cutting-edge platform, particularly designed to ease the complex process of freight handling and aid importers and exporters by letting them compare rates in real time. In addition, they ensure the safety of shipments by providing cargo insurance in the event of damaged or lost cargo.

  • A.P. Moller-Maersk

With a capacity of 4.1 million TEU, A.P. Moller-Maersk is the largest integrated shipping firm in the world. As of December 2019, it operated a fleet of 708 vessels, including 307 of its container ships and 401 hired container ships.


By 2021, the Danish corporation also intends to expand its fleet with 11 401 m-long container ships, each of which can carry 19,630 TEU. The company operates a variety of commercial sectors, including manufacturing, terminals and towage, logistics, and the ocean.

  • Mediterranean Shipping Company

Mediterranean Shipping Company has a global network of 493 offices, employs 70,000 people in 155 nations, and has a fleet that calls at more than 500 ports. The company runs a fleet of 560 cargo ships transporting 21 million TEUs yearly.


To reduce its negative environmental impact, the company runs a modern fleet of Gulshan Class ships, a new breed of environmentally friendly container ships. With 7.49gm of CO2 emissions for every nautical mile that one tonne of cargo is transported, the vessel design has the lowest carbon footprint.

  • China Ocean Shipping Company(COSCO)

A fully owned part of China’s state-owned shipping giant COSCO SHIPPING Holding, China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) Shipping Lines manages 507 container ships with a combined capacity of over 3.1 million TEU.


The fleet of COSCO makes 356 port visits in 105 countries while operating on 401 domestic and international shipping routes. The business runs 235 corporate offices in total, comprising 97 domestic and 138 foreign locations.  

  • Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha(NYKK)


Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha is a logistics and transportation firm, that helps connect domestic and foreign ports. Based in Japan, the company’s main lines of operation are logistics, specialty carriers, cruise lines, and container transportation. 


Nippon Cargo Airlines Co. Ltd. (NCA), an NYK affiliate in the air cargo transportation industry, offers international air cargo services connecting Japan to North America, Europe, and Asia.

  • Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.

With its headquarters in Japan, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines maintains sea transportation, freight handling, and storage business. The business transports a range of goods, such as coal, grain, logs, cement, metals, vehicles, paper, and chemical goods. Container ships, ferries, oil tankers, and specialty boats are all operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.

  •  Hapag-Lloyd

A multinational shipping corporation based in Germany, Hapag-Lloyd operates freight liner ships that provide services to nearly every continent. In addition to maritime transport, it also engages in air, land, rail, and inland waterway cargo, placing it among some of the largest shipping businesses on this list.

  • Orient Overseas International Ltd.

Through its subsidiaries, the shipping firm Orient Overseas in Hong Kong offers logistics and transportation services. The freight forwarding company maintains terminals, transports containers, and offers freight forwarding services in addition to owning and leasing ships. The corporation also runs ventures focused on leasing equipment and investing in securities and real estate.

  • Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation

The primary focus of Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation’s 101 vessels is container ships. The Company’s other operations include domestic and international marine cargo and passenger transportation enterprises, the management of warehouses, terminals, tugboats, barges, and container freight stations and terminals, the repair, leasing, and trading of ships, the supply of ocean freight forwarding services, etc.


They run exclusive terminals in Keelung, Kaohsiung, and Taipei Harbors in Taiwan; Tacoma, Washington; Los Angeles, California; Antwerp, Belgium; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.    

  • Pacific International Lines(PIL)

PIL is one of the biggest shipowners in Southeast Asia and the second-largest shipping firm based in Singapore. They run 164 contemporary ships that make over 500 port calls to 100+ countries.


In the present, PIL container lines travel from the Far East to Europe, the Black Sea, Canada, the Indian subcontinent, the Red Sea/Gulf, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, and the West Coast of the United States.



The transportation industry heavily relies on maritime shipping. In the future, the significance of container shipping will certainly rise due to the inclination of industries toward a sustainable business model.


If you are planning to ship internationally via container shipping, you can check and compare the companies mentioned above to get the best possible service provider for your business.

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