There are a few different ways to measure the size of a shipping fleet. For this list, I chose to rank countries based not on the number of vessels in their fleets but on carrying capacity, as measured in deadweight tons (DWTs). This number tells you how much a ship can carry, not including its own weight.

All data comes from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) and is as of January 2020.

Rank Country Total Deadweight Tons % of World
10. United States 57.2 million 2.79%

The United States ranks number 10 with a little over 57 million deadweight tons in carrying capacity, representing 2.79% of total world capacity. The largest U.S. shipping company is Honolulu, Hawaii-based Matson, which provides services to Alaska, Guam, Micronesia, the South Pacific, China and Japan.

U.S. shipping

Rank Country Total Deadweight Tons % of World
9. Bermuda 60.4 million 2.95%

The self-governing territory of Bermuda has the fewest national flag ships on this list: a mere 13. However, many foreign ship operators have chosen to register their vessels in Bermuda to take advantage of its favorable rules and regulations, bringing its total to 542, or more than 60 million DWTs.

Bermuda shipping port container

Rank Country Total Deadweight Tons % of World
8. Norway 63.9 million 3.12%

Norway has a long nautical history, thanks in large part to the Vikings, and today shipping still plays an important role in its economy along with fishing and oil and gas. With more than 2,000 vessels, the Scandinavian country controls over 3% of global carrying capacity.