Soren Toft starts his CEO role at MSC

Soren Toft
Soren Toft, Image by MSC

Soren Toft started his new role as Chief Executive Officer of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s second-largest container shipping firm, on December 2, 2020.

He reports directly to Diego Aponte, MSC Group President, and Gianluigi Aponte, Founder and MSC Group Chairman.

In his role as CEO, Soren Toft oversees MSC’s global cargo businesses including ocean liner and logistics. He will also be a member of the board of directors of Terminal Investment Ltd (TiL), the terminals business which is majority-owned by MSC.

Toft’s appointment was announced by MSC back in November 2019. He joins MSC from Maersk, where he served as Chief Operating Officer since 2013 and later as a Member of the Executive Board.

While working for Maersk, Toft oversaw the acquisition and integration of Germany’s Hamburg Süd, a deal which closed in the fourth quarter of 2017. Toft handled the negotiations with the German line’s owners, the Oetker family, and helped broker the arrangement that provided Maersk with a market-leading combined fleet capacity of 4.15 million TEU.

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“With his twenty-five years of experience in leadership roles at Maersk, and his comprehensive understanding of the future of the container shipping supply chain, Soren is the ideal match to help lead MSC into the future at the helm of our family company, building on the strategy which has made MSC such a growing success these past five decades,” Diego Aponte said.

“I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity given to me by the Aponte family. Helping to preserve the MSC DNA and lead such a successful company into the future is a great honour and a privilege for me,” Toft commented.

MSC is following closely behind its 2M alliance partner when it comes to the share of global containership capacity. Specifically, the company accounts for 15.9 percent share of the global capacity, or, 3.8 million TEUs, while Maersk accounts for 17 percent of the global capacity equivalent to 4.09 million TEUs, according to the data from Alphaliner.

“The major container shipping lines are among those who weathered the initial stages of this crisis the best with their new strategy of owning less and, instead, chartering ships to give them agility.

“They pushed as many ships as they could back to providers, sending the idle fleet skyrocketing. This supported freight rates, but left tonnage providers to face the difficult situation of low charter rates and little demand,” as explained by BIMCO.

The capacity management and low bunker prices helped liner majors perform much better than expected.

However, even though the worst-case scenario has been avoided this year, the outlook for the container shipping sector remains uncertain amid the continued spreading of the COVID-19 virus and the prolonged impact of the pandemic on global trade and economic recovery.