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Difference between Container Owner and Shipping Line

What is the difference between Container Owner and Shipping Line..?? 

Image of container stackA Container Owner is someone who OWNS the container that they provide to the various customers.. This container owner could be either a Shipping Line like Hapag Lloyd, or could be a Container Leasing Company (leaseco) like Triton Container..

Companies like Hapag Lloyd, have their own fleet of containers and they use it for their own shipping requirements globally.. However no single shipping line in the world can operate with only their own fleet of container and usually lease containers from leasecos from time to time depending on the demand..

Companies like Triton build containers for the purpose of “leasing” it to out to various shipping lines around the world..

Image of Hapag Lloyd container vesselA Shipping Line is a company that operates the ships that actually carry the containers (owned or leased) and cargo from load port to discharge port..

Example : Hapag Lloyd, Maersk, China Shipping.. Some of the shipping lines have container services covering most ports of the world, and it is common that they might run into a situation where by they have shortage of containers at certain locations or they might have requirement of certain types of containers (Flat Racks, Open Tops etc) at certain locations..

This is where container owners or leasecos like Triton, CAI, Florens etc come into play..

These leasecos provide equipment in demand locations on various lease terms (short term, long term, master lease etc)..

There are also some smaller short sea/regional shipping lines that operate solely on leased equipment as they don’t want to go through the expense of owning of the equipment, maintenance and repair, relocation etc..

Nimish, thank you for the question and trust the answer is clear..


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Hellow hariesh sir i have a question.. may b that would be silly question for you..! but I need to know if we have a certain amount of money to buy a container like one example 10 containers we can buy and rent to the port (india )is that possible ..!?thank you

  2. Hi Hariesh,

    Thank you for providing a wealth of information thru’ your blogs.

    I understand 52% of the world’s shipping container fleet is owned by leasing companies. Who owns the rest? What is the percentage share of those remaining entities?

    Thanks again for all your inputs.

    Best regards,

  3. I would like to know how many container manufacturers in the world and who they are.
    How many leasecos in the world and who are they?

    Thank you

  4. Who do I organise a container through to avoid what appear to be the high costs of moving household goods using a freight forwarder or moving company?

  5. Dear Mr. Hariesh,

    Is it the company that issue the BL/SB who sets the free laydays for containers at destination port, or is it the the shipping line? (Ex: Blue Anchor Line issued the SB but shipping vessel is CMA)?

    Do not know if this makes sense, but give it a try. Thanks

    • Hi Bao, no, there is no such maximum or minimum number.. As long as they are part of the alliance or on a vsl sharing agreement or slot sharing arrangement, many lines can use the same ship..

  6. Dear Mr Hariesh

    Can shipping line lease container from another shipping line for example YANG MANG lease container from Happag Lloyd ?

  7. Hi Hariesh, thx for ur post and it adds values to my little shipping knowledge. Can I know who is responsible to book an empty container and truck to carry it to the port of export? Shipper themselves or their appointed forwarding agent? Thank you.


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