Hapag-Lloyd is a German transport company that is thriving internationally. It belongs to the leading ocean carriers for the trade of Transatlantic, Middle East, Latin, and North America. HAPAG is an abbreviation of Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft, which we can be translated as a transatlantic shipping company on the Hamburg-America line.

Hapag-Lloyd AG is the fifth largest container carrier in the world in terms of ship capacity. With 121 line services offered around the world, they provide fast and reliable connections between ports on all continents.

History of HAPAG and NGL companies before the merger

The company was founded in 1970 as a result of the merger of two German companies specializing in maritime transport – Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft, founded in 1847. and Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL), which was founded in 1856.

Hapag is also known as the Hamburg America Line. It was founded in 1847 in Hamburg. It became the largest German and an international shipping company very quickly. It was serving the market initiated by German migration to the United States and later migration from Eastern Europe.

Hermann Henrich Meier and Eduard Crüsemann founded NDL (North German Lloyd) in Bremen in 1857. It became one of the most important German shipping companies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and contributed to the economic development of Bremen and Bremerhaven.

History of Hapag-Lloyd

Despite the first competition on the market between Hapag and NGL, both companies decided to start cooperation in 1968 by sharing huge investments related to containerization of their fleets. Finally, in September 1970, the two companies merged under the name Hapag-Lloyd.

In 1998, Hapag-Lloyd was taken over by the German tourism company TUI, and in 2002 became its subsidiary. After joining TUI, all tourism-related activities, such as charter airlines and travel agencies, were transferred to TUI AG.

In 2008, TUI announced its intention to sell its shares in Hapag-Lloyd before the end of the year. Industry speculation predicted a sales price of around 5.9 billion USD.

In 1972, Hapag-Lloyd founded the charter airline Hapag-Lloyd Flug and purchased several Boeings 727 to be able to transport passengers from Germany to ports. Later, the airlines also added regular passenger flights. In 2002, TUI created Hapag-Lloyd Express (HLX), a low-fare and high-frequency airline. However, this company was never owned by Hapag-Lloyd.

Since the merger in 2007, both airlines have been operating as TUIfly.

Mergers and Acquisitions-Hapag-Lloyd

  • CP Ships Limited – In 2005, TUI agreed to take over the Canadian company CP Ships Limited. Thanks to this, the fleet has become the fifth-largest carrier in the world on the global container transport market.
  • Hamburg Süd – In 2013, Hapag-Lloyd planned to merge with Hamburg Süd. The plan was unsuccessful due to the rejection of the final offer from Hapag-Lloyd by the owners and shareholders of the smaller company.
  • Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) – In 2014, Hapag-Lloyd acquired the Chilean company Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores. Thanks to the merger, Hapag-Lloyd has become the fourth largest container forwarding company in the world.
  • United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) – In April 2016, Hapag-Lloyd announced that it was negotiating the merger with United Arab Shipping Company. The merger was agreed in 2016. In 2017, the integration between the two companies was completed. As a result of the merger, Hapag-Lloyd became the fifth largest container carrier in the world in terms of vessel capacity, thus surpassing the Taiwanese Evergreen line. The alliance also meant that UASC would be the largest shareholder of the new mega entity, and Hapag-Lloyd would become the sole operator of the combined fleet.

Strategy of Hapag-Lloyd

The dynamically developing company decided to introduce the Hapag-Lloyd 2023 strategy. It is aiming to become number one on the market by providing high-quality services, increasing profitability, and maintaining its position as a global player in the shipowners’ market.

Their establishment plan will become a model in the container transport industry, setting a quality standard, thus offering an unrivaled level of reliability and quality of service to customers.

Sustainable development

Quality and environmental protection are an essential part of Hapag-Lloyd’s organizational culture. The sustainable development policy defines their commitment to protecting the environment, ensuring the highest quality of services, and taking care of employees’ health and safety.


Hapag-Lloyd has set up the Albert Ballin Prize to celebrate the centenary of the death of Albert Ballin, CEO of HAPAG and inventor of the concept of a cruise ship who died on November 9, 2018. The prize aims to appreciate global initiatives that foster networking and exchanges between nations and cultures, as well as those who advocate the victims of globalization. They also established two Albert Ballin awards for globalization studies. Young scientists and researchers will be rewarded for research that broadens and deepens our understanding of the possibilities and risks of globalization. Prizes will be awarded at regular four-year intervals.

In 1997, the Hapag-Lloyd Foundation was founded. It aims to promote culture, science, and social affairs, with particular emphasis on development among young people. The Foundation’s activities focus on cultural development, using media such as theater, ballet, music, and visits to museums. What is more, the company develops its owns projects. They want to promote new talents.

Key figures-Hapag-Lloyd

  • Hapag-Lloyd has 235 modern ships serving 600 ports around the world and transporting 11.9 million TEU per year.
  • The company employs approximately 12,800 employees working in 398 branches in 128 countries.
  • Hapag-Lloyd has a fleet with a total capacity of 1.7 million TEU, as well as a warehouse with a capacity of over 2.5 million TEU, including one of the largest and modern refrigeration fleets in the world.
  • According to data (June 2018), the owners of Hapag-Lloyd are CSAV (27.3%), Klaus Michael Kühne (including Kühne Holding AG and Kühne Maritime GmbH 25.5%), HGV Hamburger Gesellschaft für Vermögens- und Beteiligungsmanagement mbH (13.9%)), Qatar Investment Office (14.5%), Public Investment Fund on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (10.2%), and about 8.6% of shares outside the possession of large investors.
  • Hapag-Lloyd’s activities have been awarded many times. In 2019, it received three awards: a John Deere award for achieving perfection, a DuPont Performance Excellence Award, and a Seatrade Maritime Global Performer Award.

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