MAERSK Line is no longer the largest container line in the world; MSC has knocked it off the top spot, according to global shipping analyst Alphaliner.

MSC’s fleet has the capacity to carry 4.284 million TEU, 1888 TEU more than Maersk. Each company accounts for 17% of global container-carrying capacity.

Maersk has been the largest container shipping company since the mid-1990s.

Maersk still owns and charters the most vessels of any container line with 738 vessels. Of Maersk’s vessels, 330 are owned (with a capacity of 2.48 million TEU) and 408, or 42.1%, are chartered (with a capacity of 1.8 million TEU).

Of MSC’s 625 vessels, 260 are owned (1.51 TEU) and 385 are chartered (2.77 TEU).

If the companies’ orderbooks are anything to go by, MSC is on track to maintain its status as the largest line. The company has 60 ships on order with a total capacity of 999,808 TEU – 23% of its existing container-carrying capacity.

Maersk has 25 ships on order with a total capacity of 255,100 TEU – 6% of its existing capacity.

Bloomberg quoted Maersk CEO Søren Skou saying the number-one spot isn’t important.

“It does not mean anything,” he said in an interview on 22 December.

“The important thing for us is to grow with our clients” by enticing existing customers to buy logistics services from Maersk rather than its rivals with an expanded offering in land transport, he said.