Visualized: The World’s Largest Container Shipping Companies
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Ranked: The World’s Largest Container Shipping Companies

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infographic showing the largest container shipping companies

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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.

RankCompanyCountryTEU# of Ships
1Maersk🇩🇰 Denmark4.3M718
1MSC 🇨🇭 Switz.4.3M606
3CMA CGM🇫🇷 France3.2M542
4COSCO Shipping🇨🇳 China2.9M497
5Hapag-Lloyd🇩🇪 Germany1.7M259
6Ocean Network Express🇯🇵 Japan1.5M218
7Evergreen Marine🇹🇼 Taiwan1.5M201
8HMM🇰🇷 S. Korea0.8M79
9Yang Ming🇹🇼 Taiwan0.7M87
10Wan Hai Lines🇹🇼 Taiwan0.4M146

In this dataset, Maersk and MSC are tied for first place in terms of TEU capacity. This is no longer the case, as news outlets have recently reported that MSC has overtaken the former.

Trailing behind the two industry leaders is a mixture of European and Asian firms. Many of these companies have grown through mergers and acquisitions.

Interesting Facts

Maersk

At the time of writing, Maersk is Denmark’s third largest company by market capitalization. The firm was founded in 1904, making it 118 years old.

MSC

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has grown very quickly in recent years, catching up to (and surpassing) long-time leader Maersk in terms of TEU capacity.

The Swiss firm has increased its fleet size through new orders, acquisition of second-hand vessels, and charter deals.

COSCO Shipping

COSCO Shipping is China’s state-owned shipping company. American officials have raised concerns about the firm’s expanding global influence.

For context, Chinese state-owned enterprises have ownership stakes in terminals at five U.S. ports. This includes Terminal 30 at the Port of Seattle, in which two COSCO subsidiaries hold a 33.33% stake.

Moving forward, any further Chinese interest in U.S. terminals will face an even more stringent regulatory environment.
– Kardon (2021)

Evergreen

Evergreen is likely a familiar name, but not for the right reasons. In 2021, one of the company’s ships, Ever Given, became stuck in the Suez Canal, putting one of the world’s most important shipping routes out of commission for nearly a week.

Bulking Up

To achieve better economies of scale, container ships are growing bigger and bigger. The following chart illustrates this trend from 1970 to 2017.

chart showing the growth of container ship size over time

Average capacity is being pulled upwards by the arrival of mega-ships, which are ships that have a capacity of over 18,000 TEUs. Their massive size creates problems for ports that weren’t designed to handle such a high volume of traffic.

It’s worth noting that the largest ship today, the Ever Ace (owned by Evergreen), has a capacity of 24,000 TEUs. Watch this YouTube video for some impressive footage of the ship.

Going Green

Bloomberg reports that shipping accounts for 3% of the world’s carbon emissions. If the industry were a country, that would make it the world’s sixth-largest emitter.

Due to the growth of ESG investing, shipping companies have faced pressure to decarbonize their ships. Progress to this day has been limited, but there are many solutions in the pipeline.

One option is alternative fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, or biofuels made from plants. These fuels could enable ships to greatly decrease their emissions.

Another option is to completely do away with fuel, and instead return to the centuries-old technology of wind power.

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Personal Finance

Mapped: The Salary You Need to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Cities

Is owning a home still realistic? This map lays out the salary you’d need to buy a home in 50 different U.S. metro areas.

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This is the Salary You Need to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Cities

Depending on where you live, owning a home may seem like a far off dream or it could be fairly realistic. In New York City, for example, a person needs to be making at least six figures to buy a home, but in Cleveland you could do it with just over $45,000 a year.

This visual, using data from Home Sweet Home, maps out the annual salary you’d need for home ownership in 50 different U.S. cities.

Note: The map above refers to entire metro areas and uses Q1 2022 data on median home prices. The necessary salary was calculated by the source, looking at the base cost of principal, interest, property tax, and homeowner’s insurance.

Home Ownership Across the U.S.

San Jose is by far the most expensive city when it comes to purchasing a home. A person would need to earn over $330,000 annually to pay off the mortgage at a monthly rate of $7,718.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers:

RankMetro AreaMedian Home PriceSalary Needed
#1San Jose$1,875,000$330,758
#2San Francisco$1,380,000$249,685
#3San Diego$905,000$166,828
#4Los Angeles$792,500$149,127
#5Seattle$746,200$140,768
#6Boston$639,000$130,203
#7New York City$578,100$129,459
#8Denver$662,200$121,888
#9Austin$540,700$114,679
#10Washington, D.C.$553,000$110,327
#11Portland$570,500$109,267
#12Riverside/San Bernardino$560,000$106,192
#13Sacramento$545,000$105,934
#14Miami$530,000$103,744
#15Salt Lake City$556,900$100,970
#16Providence$406,700$88,477
#17Phoenix$474,500$86,295
#18Las Vegas$461,100$84,116
#19Raleigh$439,100$83,561
#20Dallas$365,400$81,165
#21Orlando$399,900$79,573
#22Chicago$325,400$76,463
#23Tampa$379,900$75,416
#24Houston$330,800$74,673
#25Minneapolis$355,800$74,145
#26Baltimore$350,900$73,803
#27Nashville$387,200$73,502
#28Jacksonville$365,900$73,465
#29Hartford$291,000$73,165
#30Charlotte$379,900$72,348
#31San Antonio$321,100$70,901
#32Atlanta$350,300$69,619
#33Philadelphia$297,900$69,569
#34Richmond$354,500$68,629
#35Milwaukee$298,800$65,922
#36Kansas City$287,400$60,507
#37Columbus$274,300$59,321
#38Virginia Beach$289,900$59,245
#39New Orleans$281,100$57,853
#40Birmingham$289,500$55,662
#41Indianapolis$271,600$53,586
#42Memphis$259,300$52,691
#43Cincinnati$244,300$51,840
#44Buffalo$202,300$51,525
#45Detroit$224,300$50,302
#46St Louis$216,700$48,988
#47Louisville$235,400$48,121
#48Cleveland$192,700$45,448
#49Oklahoma City$198,200$45,299
#50Pittsburgh$185,700$42,858

Perhaps surprisingly, Boston residents need slightly higher earnings than New Yorkers to buy a home. The same is also true in Seattle and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, some of the cheapest cities to start buying up real estate in are Oklahoma City and Cleveland.

As of April, the rate of home ownership in the U.S. is 65%. This number represents the share of homes that are occupied by the owner, rather than rented out or vacant.

The American Dream Home

As of the time of this data (Q1 2022), the national yearly fixed mortgage rate sat at 4% and median home price at $368,200. This put the salary needed to buy a home at almost $76,000⁠—the median national household income falls almost $9,000 below that.

But what kind of homes are people looking to purchase? Depending on where you live the type of home and square footage you can get will be very different.

In New York City, for example, there are fairly few stand-alone, single-family houses in the traditional sense⁠—only around 4,000 are ever on the market. People in the Big Apple tend to buy condominiums or multi-family units.

Additionally, if you’re looking for luxury, not even seven figures will get you much in the big cities. In Miami, a million dollars will only buy you 833 square feet of prime real estate.

One thing is for sure: the typical American dream home of the big house with a yard and white picket fence is more attainable in smaller metro areas with ample suburbs.

Buying vs. Renting

The U.S. median household income is $67,500, meaning that today the typical family could only afford a home in about 15 of the 50 metro areas highlighted above, including New Orleans, Buffalo, and Indianapolis.

With the income gap widening in the U.S., the rental market remains a more attractive option for many, especially as prices are finally tapering off. The national median rent price was down nearly 3% from June to July for two-bedroom apartments.

At the end of the day, buying a home can be an important investment and may provide a sense of security, but it will be much easier to do in certain types of cities.

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Business

Visualized: The Top 25 U.S. Newspapers by Daily Circulation

Extra, extra read all about it—these 25 popular U.S. newspapers are trending downwards in their daily print circulation year-over-year.

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Visualized: The Top 25 U.S. Newspapers by Daily Circulation

Most people today—more than 8 in 10 Americans—get their news via digital devices, doing their reading on apps, listening to podcasts, or scrolling through social media feeds.

It’s no surprise then that over the last year, only one U.S. newspaper of the top 25 most popular in the country saw positive growth in their daily print circulations.

Based on data from Press Gazette, this visual stacks up the amount of daily newspapers different U.S. publications dole out and how that’s changed year-over-year.

Extra, Extra – Read All About It

The most widely circulated physical newspaper is the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by a long shot—sending out almost 700,000 copies a day. But it is important to note that this number is an 11% decrease since 2021.

Here’s a closer look at the data.

RankNewspaperAverage Daily Print CirculationYear-Over-Year Change
#1Wall Street Journal697,493−11%
#2New York Times329,781−9%
#3USA Today159,233−13%
#4Washington Post159,040−12%
#5New York Post146,649−2%
#6Los Angeles Times142,382−14%
#7Chicago Tribune106,156−16%
#8Star Tribune103,808−9%
#9Tampa Bay Times102,266−26%
#10Newsday97,182−12%
#11Seattle Times86,406−10%
#12Honolulu Star-Advertiser79,096−5%
#13Arizona Republic70,216−10%
#14Boston Globe68,806−11%
#15Dallas Morning News65,369−10%
#16Houston Chronicle65,084−17%
#17Philadelphia Inquirer61,180−20%
#18San Francisco Chronicle60,098−12%
#19Denver Post57,265−13%
#20Chicago Sun-Times57,222−7%
#21The Buffalo News56,005−15%
#22Daily News55,653−18%
#23Villages Daily Sun49,1833%
#24St. Louis Post-Dispatch48,246−11%
#25Milwaukee Journal Sentinel47,832−13%

These papers, although experiencing negative growth when it comes to print, are still extremely popular and widely-read publications digitally—not only in the U.S., but worldwide. For example, the New York Times reported having reached 9 million subscribers globally earlier this year.

The one paper with increased print circulation was The Villages Daily Sun, which operates out of a retirement community in Florida. Elderly people tend to be the most avid readers of print papers. Another Florida newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, was the worst performer at -26%.

In total, 2,500 U.S. newspapers have shut down since 2005. One-third of American newspapers are expected to be shuttered by 2025. This particularly impacts small communities and leaves many across America in ‘news deserts.’

Print vs. Digital Newspapers

Regardless of print’s downturn, digital subscriptions remain much higher for most of these papers. As one example, The Washington Post has over 3 million online subscribers, compared to their 159,000 print readers.

To put things in perspective, around 24 million print papers now circulate throughout the U.S. on any given day. But looking back at the industry’s peak in the 1980s, almost 64 million were distributed on any given weekday.

And digital is not done growing. Newsroom hires have been ramping up for “digital-native” news sites—publications that started online and never had a print version. On the flipside, employment at traditional papers has more than halved since 2008.

Problems with Media

American news media can be extremely divisive. Many newsrooms across the country play into fear, sensationalism, and partisan politics.

Digital news only makes this worse, utilizing algorithms designed to keep a person’s eyes on the page longer, pushing stories with narratives a person shows interest in, and often taking them down a rabbit hole of fringe information—sometimes towards the extremes.

Additionally, the business of journalism is an increasingly less lucrative industry. Most revenue comes from digital ads running on news sites—so rather than selling the news to consumers, it’s the time and attention of consumers that is being sold to advertisers. Furthermore, some of the best quality content is locked up behind subscription-based paywalls.

Print may actually be one way to avoid some of the more obvious issues, particularly because there’s no way to track the data on which stories you read. But all publications still have inherent bias, of course, and it’s clear that print papers are not bouncing back any time soon.

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