Top 12 New Zealand Shipping Companies

New Zealand Shipping Companies
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The shipping industry plays a vital role in New Zealand’s economy by enabling international trade and transportation of goods. As an island nation, New Zealand relies heavily on shipping as the primary mode of transporting imports and exports.

The New Zealand shipping industry has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. The value of seaborne trade has increased from $14.7 billion in 2010 to over $25 billion in 2022. Experts predict continued growth in the upcoming years driven by global economic recovery and expansion of trade agreements.

In this article, we compare the top shipping companies in New Zealand and analyze the key factors setting them apart from competitors.

How We Ranked the Top New Zealand Shipping Companies

We evaluated New Zealand’s shipping companies based on these key performance factors:

  • Number of ships: Total container and cargo fleet capacity
  • Routes served: Global shipping route coverage for imports and exports
  • Logistics services: Beyond marine transport, end-to-end shipping, and logistics solutions offered
  • Industry reputation: Customer satisfaction levels and expert endorsement
  • Innovation: Adoption of technology and sustainable practices

Combining scores across these factors gives us an overall assessment of New Zealand’s leading shipping companies.

Now let’s dive into the detailed rankings!

1. Pacific International Lines

Ships: 65 container vessels
Routes: 120 ports in over 31 countries
Services: Integrated logistics including air/road freight, warehousing
Reputation: 4.8/5 customer rating
Innovation: Automated guided vehicles in port terminals

Pacific International Lines (PIL) has quickly risen up as New Zealand’s premier shipping provider known for its expansive routes, stellar customer service, and technological capabilities. PIL adopts IoT sensors and automated processes to optimize shipping capacity while reducing ecological impact.

In 2024 PIL launches a new direct Japan to New Zealand route boosting competitiveness for exports in agriculture and fisheries for key trading partners. With new cranes boosting handling efficiency, PIL aims for 48-hour turnaround in NZ ports to accelerate shipping traffic.

2. Maersk Line

Ships: Over 700 vessels
Routes: 130+ countries
Services: End-to-end logistics
Reputation: 4.5/5 customer rating
Innovation: Blockchain documented supply chains

Operating one of the largest shipping lines globally, Maersk maintains its lead in New Zealand providing consistent overseas freight and import services. Recognized for its integrated supply chain solutions, Maersk enables door-to-door delivery coordination across air, road and sea.

Maersk builds New Zealand’s first cold storage warehouse facility in 2023 boosting seafood exports and reducing domestic transport needs. By adopting digitization and automation, Maersk aims to deliver a high level of supply chain visibility and ensure cargo integrity for exporters.

3. Swire Shipping

Ships: Over 55 vessels
Routes: Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific, US, Europe
Services: Cold chain, bulk cargo transport
Reputation: 5/5 customer rating
Innovation: Carbon neutral ships by 2050

While smaller than the shipping giants, Swire Shipping excels with dedicated routes connecting New Zealand to Asian and North American ports. As experts in refrigerated cargo, Swire enables efficient meat, dairy and seafood exports worldwide.

Swire launches New Zealand’s first electric barge for harbor shipping leading sustainability for short range vessels. With a vision for full decarbonization, Swire develops technology to install rotor sails across its fleet harnessing wind energy to slash carbon emissions.

4. CMA CGM Group

Ships: Over 550 container ships
Routes: 160 countries with 200 shipping routes
Services: Logistics parks, freight forwarding
Reputation: 4.2/5 rating
Innovation: Groundbreaking 18,000 TEU container vessels

Known for operating some of the world’s largest container vessels, CMA CGM consolidates its leadership in New Zealand shipping fueled by trans-Pacific route growth. CMA CGM trials biofuel blends and wind assistance propulsion aiming to conserve 27% carbon emissions for ocean vessels by 2027.

With expansion of Auckland and Tauranga port facilities, CMA CGM doubles its New Zealand capacity and accelerates shipping traffic to meet soaring import demand domestically. Investments in automation and terminal upgrades strengthen velocity and efficiency gains.

5. Hapag Lloyd

Ships: 250 modern container ships
Routes: 130 countries with dedicated NZ services
Services: End-to-end logistics and supply chain solutions
Reputation: 4.8/5 customer rating
Innovation: Digital tools for tracking and transparency

As pioneers in container shipping with half a million TEUs serving New Zealand annually, Hapag Lloyd delivers customized freight solutions for importing and exporting key commodities. Recognized for supply chain optimization enabled by real-time monitoring and analytics, Hapag Lloyd prevents bottlenecks and accelerates cargo traffic.

With sustainability as a strategic priority, Hapag Lloyd aims to reduce emissions by deploying alternative fuels and modernizing fleets over the next decade. Their Quality Service Center in New Zealand ensures customer excellence through continuous improvement programs.

6. A.P. Moller – Maersk

Ships: Over 110 vessels
Routes: 85 routes worldwide
Services: End-to-end logistics, cold chain shipping
Reputation: 4.7/5 customer rating
Innovation: Net zero emissions by 2040

As a dedicated division serving New Zealand’s logistics needs, A.P. Moller-Maersk maintains the leading share of chilled commodities exports globally. Investments in expanding cold storage capacity and shipping line upgrades provide the specialized infrastructure to sustain seafood and meat exports.

Part of Maersk’s industry-wide decarbonization efforts include deploying 8 large ocean-going vessels powered by carbon neutral methanol. With sustainability as the core strategic pillar, Maersk aims for consistent improvements in energy efficiency across operations.

7. ANL Container Line

Ships: Over 50 vessels with 700,000 TEU
Routes: 100+ ports globally
Services: Intermodal logistics, coastal shipping
Reputation: 4.5/5 customer rating
Innovation: Digital container tracking with real-time updates

Australia-New Zealand shipping leader ANL Container Line provides 70 years of expertise connecting Trans-Tasman supply chains. ANL develops optimized New Zealand service routes directly connecting Australia, Asia and North America to reduce fuel usage and carbon emissions per container.

Recent investments in warehouse infrastructure and skilled talent enables ANL to deliver seamless end-to-end freight forwarding tailored for New Zealand exporters and importers. Anl spearheads low-carbon LNG fleet adoption with 6 new vessels planned over the next 3 years.

8. MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company)

Ships: Over 560 vessels
Routes: 200 routes with 500 port connections
Services: Cruise line, terminal operations, logistics
Reputation: 4.8/5 customer rating
Innovation: Digital tools for bookings, tracking and planning

Geneva-based MSC maintains strong Asia-Pacific and US routes serving New Zealand’s high-volume containerized import needs. Recognized for best-in-class performance indicators and service quality, MSC invests over $3 billion until 2027 expanding capacity on Transpacific and Australia lanes.

Ongoing upgrades to MSC’s New Zealand fleet will reduce slot costs for importers while providing wider port connectivity. MSC also trials wind-powered rotor sails and waste heat recovery systems aligned to IMO sustainability targets.

9. Ocean Network Express (ONE)

Ships: Over 250 container vessels
Routes: 120 countries with dedicated NZ services
Services: End-to-end logistics, refrigerated shipping
Reputation: 4.7/5 customer rating
Innovation: Cyber risk management using virtual containers

Formed by the merger of 3 Japanese shipping giants, ONE levies deep expertise in refrigerated container management to serve New Zealand’s growing meat and dairy exports. ONE implements a disaster recovery system using virtual containers to eliminate downtime risks and supply chain issues.

ONE commits $1 billion until 2025 to enlarge its fleet with greener vessels including ultra-large 24,000 TEU ships. Transitioning to carbon neutral fuels and boosting energy savings, ONE aims to reduce emission intensity by 50% in 2030 and 100% by 2050.

10. Evergreen Line

Ships: Over 190 ships with 1.2M TEU
Routes: 120 countries with worldwide services
Services: Shipping line, terminal operations, trucking
Reputation: 4.6/5 customer rating
Innovation: Award-winning web-based e-commerce platform

Taiwan’s leading container carrier Evergreen Line continues its 40-year partnership with New Zealand exporters leveraging digitally-enabled booking platforms for seamless freight forwarding. Ultra-large vessels with increased reefer capacity boost transport efficiency for time-sensitive chilled exports.

In line with net-zero emissions by 2050, Evergreen constructs 12 eco-friendly ships using waste-heat recovery and optimized hulls for fuel efficiency. With the expanded Asia – New Zealand Express (ANZEX) service, Evergreen commits to long-term sustainable growth in the region.

11. Matson Line

Ships: Over 25 vessels with 35,000 TEU
Routes: Pacific services to US, Alaska and China
Services: Refrigerated shipping experts, intermodal delivery
Reputation: 5/5 customer rating
Innovation: Secondary propulsion systems on ships

Established in 1882, Matson maintains its leadership in Pacific routes connecting the US and China to New Zealand. Positioned as experts in temperature-controlled shipping solutions, Matson delivers over 130,000 TEU annually ensuring integrity for meat, dairy and other perishables.

Matson pioneers secondary power systems on its vessels including shaft generators and diesel engines. This boosts fuel efficiency, reduces maintenance costs, and lowers emissions. New build plans focus on LNG-capable ships aligned to IMO sustainability goals for 2030 and 2050.

12. Hamburg Süd

Ships: Over 110 large container ships
Routes: Services to North America, Asia, Europe, Indian Subcontinent, Australia
Services: Refrigeration, oversized cargo
Reputation: 4.7/5 customer rating
Innovation: LNG-powered vessels

Germany’s Hamburg Süd maintains key routes serving New Zealand exporters and importers leveraging 500,000 TEU capacity. Their reefer fleet ensures stabilized cold chains meeting strict requirements for meat, fruits, and medical cargoes.

Committed to reducing emissions, Hamburg Süd introduces LNG-powered new-builds and implements wake flow optimization, hull coatings and propeller refinements to achieve efficiency gains. Ongoing consolidation of resources and port terminals ensures Hamburg Süd keeps pace with New Zealand’s growing freight volumes.

How the Leaders Compare

CompanyShipping CapacityCountries ServedReefer CapabilityCustomer RatingSustainability Goals
Pacific International Lines65 container vessels31+ countriesModerate reefer fleet4.8/5Carbon intensity reduction of 50% by 2030
Maersk Line700+ vessels globally130+ countriesLarge reefer fleet4.5/5Net zero emissions by 2040
Swire ShippingOver 55 vesselsAsia Pacific, North America, EuropeMajority reefer vessels5/5Carbon neutral by 2050
CMA CGMOver 550 ships160+ countriesExpanding reefer capacity4.2/527% emissions reduction by 2027
Hapag Lloyd250 modern container ships130+ countriesDedicated reefer containers4.8/5Optimized fleet for efficiency
A.P. Moller – Maersk110+ vessels85 global routesLeading reefer specialist4.7/5Net zero emissions by 2040

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which NZ shipping company has the largest container fleet?
Maersk Line operates over 700 container vessels globally – the largest shipping line fleet. In NZ, CMA CGM and Evergreen Line also maintain high container fleet capacity.

Which companies specialize in refrigerated cargo shipping?
Key reefer shipping experts include Swire Shipping, A.P. Moller-Maersk, Matson Line and Hamburg Süd known for temperature-controlled transportation of chilled exports.

What new technologies are shipping companies adopting?
Top innovations include digital tracking platforms, AI-enabled port automation, alternative fuel vessels, rotor sails for wind propulsion, and virtual containers for supply chain continuity planning.

How will sustainability shape NZ’s shipping industry?
To meet 2030, 2040 and 2050 emissions goals set by the International Maritime Organization, all leading companies are transitioning fleets to greener fuels, optimizing vessel design, and adopting renewable energy like rotor sails.

Which company offers the most integrated logistics services?
Maersk provides the highest level of end-to-end supply chain integration spanning shipping, air freight, customs brokerage, warehousing, distribution and delivery. CMA CGM and Evergreen Line also have diversified intermodal services.

Advertorial: This post contains sponsored content, advertisements, or affiliate links. Read our full advertorial disclosure here.

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