Following a huge spending spree, which has seen more than 140 container ships joining the fleet over the past 18 months, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) overtook Maersk in early January in terms of container capacity.

Both companies are reported to control around 4.28 million TEU of vessel capacity, each representing 17 per cent of global container ship capacity, though with MSC’s current order book, the Swiss-based company will pull further ahead this year.

Founded in Naples during 1970 by Gianluigi Aponte, the company moved their headquarters to Geneva in 1978.

Known for purchasing second-hand vessels, the company has grown largely organically, only seeing its first newbuildings, the sisters MSC Alexa and MSC Rafaela entering service in 1996.

During its expansion, the company has held the ‘largest container ship’ title twice in recent years, first with the 19,224teu capacity MSC Oscar from late 2014, and then with MSC Gulsun, of 23,756teu, from July 2019.

Aside from its container business, MSC also owns its own cruise ship operation and the ferry company Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), and has recently agreed to buy a major holding in Brazilian domestic container operator Log-In Logistica.

Report and photo by Krispen Atkinson

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