Germanic Lloyd

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Germanischer Lloyd SE

legal form Societas Europaea (SE)
founding 1867
resolution 2013 (merger with DNV to DNV GL )
Seat Hamburg , Germany
  • Erik van der Noordaa, Pekka Paasivaara, Joachim Segatz
Number of employees 6900 (2010)
sales 741.0 million euros ( FY 2010)
Branch Ship Classification Society

As an international classification society, Germanischer Lloyd SE was a technical service company based in Hamburg. With around 6,900 employees at over 200 locations in over 80 countries, the group recently had sales of around 740 million euros (as of December 31, 2010). On September 12, 2013, the two previous competitors Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and Germanischer Lloyd (GL) merged and merged into the new DNV GL Group . Around 17,000 people are employed at 300 locations, and annual sales are around 2.5 billion euros.

Competitors included Bureau Veritas (France), American Bureau of Shipping (USA), Lloyd's Register of Shipping (Great Britain) and Société Générale de Surveillance (Switzerland). The company, founded in 1867, looked back on a long tradition as a ship classification society, but had greatly expanded its industrial business, particularly through acquisitions. The British consulting firms Advantica (2007), Noble Denton (2009) and Garrad Hassan (2009) were taken over.

Business areas

The GL-Group was mainly active in the three business areas of shipping ( Germanischer Lloyd ), oil and gas ( GL Noble Denton ) and renewable energies ( GL Garrad Hassan and GL Renewables Certification ). The shipping division recently contributed almost half of total sales.


The shipping division of Germanischer Lloyd mainly comprised ship classification and advisory services, which are grouped under the term Maritime Solutions . The original GL field of work, the classification, included a. the acceptance of new buildings and the inspection of the moving fleet according to international safety and environmental standards. In total, more than 7,000 ships with a tonnage of more than 100 million tons were sailing below the GL class . In the case of container ships , GL, one of the five largest classification societies in the world, had a market share of over 40 percent. The focus of Maritime Solutions was essentially on increasing efficiency: The GL engineers advised the shipping industry and others. a. in matters of ship design, hull optimization, engine management and route planning, accompanied the development of innovative technologies and offered special software and training courses to optimize ship operations. The goals were lower fuel costs and fewer emissions in order to ensure compliance with the increasingly strict international regulations on environmental protection. The subsidiary FutureShip affiliated here deals with the development of efficient ship designs and optimization through simulation programs. Basic research was carried out by the Strategic Research and Development department, which presented studies on particularly efficient container ships and tankers , for example .

Ships that have been measured by Germanischer Lloyd bear the letters GL on the loading lines ( Plimsoll mark ) amidships.

oil and gas

The corporate division emerged from the merger of the previous industrial division of GL with various acquired companies, including Advantica and Noble Denton from Great Britain. Because the extraction of oil and gas reserves is becoming more and more demanding in view of dwindling resources, special engineering services are particularly in demand here. In the offshore production of oil and gas, it is important to ensure high safety requirements to protect living beings and the environment. Production and transport via floating units ( FPSO ) or pipelines are another important field of work for the GL technicians, who take care of the integrity of the systems from planning through construction and operation to dismantling. In addition, the employees of GL Noble Denton are involved in software development, product and process certification, and materials testing.

Renewable energy

In the segment of technical services and consulting services for renewable energies , the GL division was considered a leader with 750 experts in over 40 branches. He bundled the original activities of GL with those of the acquired companies Hélimax (2007, Canada), Windtest (2008, Germany) and Garrad Hassan (2009, Great Britain). The company supported project initiators in the selection of suitable locations, manufacturers and suppliers in construction and production, and energy supply companies in the planning, construction and operation of wind turbines . This also included the development of special software and training activities. Recently, the technically demanding installation of offshore wind turbines has increasingly come into focus, where GL Garrad Hassan has been able to combine its own know-how with the maritime expertise of the GL Group. Another topic was the generation of energy through tidal or wave power plants. Here was GL Garrad Hassan already involved in over 60 projects. In the field of solar energy , GL Garrad Hassan was involved in the Desertec solar project, among other things . The subsidiary Renewables Certification worked as an independent certification body for components and systems in the renewable energies segment. Their compliance with international standards was ensured on the basis of intensive tests and investigations.


Franz Paetow, first director of Germanischer Lloyd. Graphic by Hermann Scherenberg

On June 23, 1862, on the initiative of various shipowners, a committee was formed in Hamburg to advise on questions of ship classification. The following shipping companies were members of this committee:

The name Germanischer Lloyd appeared for the first time at one of the meetings , presumably based on the formerly founded Lloyd's Register of Shipping in London. Friedrich Schüler emerged as a successful champion for an independent classification of ships. He was a shipbuilder in Stettin-Grabow and would later play an important role for Germanischer Lloyd as Technical Director. In addition, the work of Franz Paetow, Vice Consul in Rostock , was decisive. It is thanks to his activity that the company achieved great expansion in a relatively short time and gained general trust. As early as 1863, he received the call to found a German classification institute in order to shake off the previous French dominance in this field. In 1864 he developed in the brochure Die Klassificirung von Schiffen, a contribution to the program of a German Lloyd for the classification of ships, the principles to be observed. He also promoted the idea in Holland and Belgium. In early 1867, the founding meeting of Germanischer Lloyd made a public announcement. It was convened on March 16, 1867 at 2 p.m. in the great hall of the Börsenhalle in Hamburg . Germanischer Lloyd was founded on March 16, 1867 in Hamburg as a German classification society, when Mr. Theodor August Behn as representative of the founding committee signed the statutes after a clear majority vote in the founding assembly. The founding meeting was attended by almost 600 people. Franz Paetow was elected to the founding committee, where he participated in the preparatory work. In spring 1868 he was appointed director of the new company by the board of directors.

The first building regulations were published in the founding year, which differed significantly from the previous ones. Up to now it was measured in tons; however, the measurements of Germanischer Lloyd were based on the length, width and height of the ship.

Germanischer Lloyd logo
Share for RM 300 in Germanischer Lloyd AG on December 16, 1924

In 1868, the first Germanischer Lloyd ship register was published, which included 273 ships. Only two years later the second register with 735 ships came out. Due to its rapid growth, Germanischer Lloyd was represented in thirteen German cities and in over sixty important foreign ports just two years after it was founded. In 1872, when the head office was relocated to Berlin , the register already comprised 1870 ships; in 1878 there were 2353 ships, about a third of which sailed under a foreign flag.

In 1889 the cooperative was converted into a stock corporation, as the original form of company apparently did not seem to be successful, and Friedrich Ludwig Middendorf became its technical director in 1890. However, since the then Reich government needed a powerful institution for these tasks, the cooperative was converted into a public limited company at the request of the Reich Office of the Interior . Because of its importance for German shipping, Reich Chancellor Bismarck instructed the imperial consulates in foreign ports on January 17, 1890 for the first time to support the activities of Germanischer Lloyd. The last such decree was issued by the Foreign Office to the diplomatic and consular missions of the Federal Republic of Germany on April 8, 1969.

In 1891 the regulations for the classification and inspections of ships and their propulsion systems were added. The register and the regulations have been constantly revised to keep them up to date with the latest technology. After the See-Berufsgenossenschaft (hereinafter referred to as See-BG) was founded in 1887 , whose task it was to issue accident prevention regulations and to check compliance, a contract was concluded between See-BG and Germanischer Lloyd in November 1894 . Germanischer Lloyd should be available as a technical advisor in the future. Most of that treaty is still in force today.

The development in shipping advanced rapidly and Germanischer Lloyd grew steadily. In 1914, 10 percent of the world merchant fleet was classified with him. Then came the First World War , which brought Germanischer Lloyd major losses in the ship classification. Many foreign ships changed class because the head office was sealed off from international shipping.

The regeneration started slowly, but the first register after the First World War was released as early as 1920. In the meantime, international relations have been refreshed or renewed, which was expressed, among other things, by the fact that See-BG and Germanischer Lloyd were involved in the preparations for the international freeboard conference.

The Second World War dealt Germanischer Lloyd an even harder blow than the first. Many administration buildings and offices were destroyed so that the Lloyd could no longer carry out its tasks. When protests came from influential forces from shipping and insurance shortly before the dissolution, a central office was opened in Hamburg so that the company could take care of classification matters again. Due to the reconstruction of the fleets of the German shipowners in the 1950s, Germanischer Lloyd was able to recover and resume the interrupted foreign relations.

Now, as mentioned above, he was mainly concerned with monitoring new buildings. It was possible for him to create a good basis for the coming expansion of the AG, which in the end was not lacking due to the strong expansion of the world merchant fleet in the 1960s. An expansion of activities followed, such as marine engineering structures and offshore devices, but also plant construction. In addition, further major technical advances were achieved in the now international organization. Even the Federal Government makes use of the staff for its advice and in some cases also for its representation in the working groups of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and thus directly uses the technical capacity of Germanischer Lloyd. As a result, Germanischer Lloyd is closely involved in the development of international ship safety regulations. In the course of international reintegration, the proportion of the foreign flag rose to over 50 percent at the end of the 1970s. Due to the progress in ship technology, it was necessary to develop scientific calculation methods, which Germanischer Lloyd consistently carried out in its house. Research work was also carried out in the field of mechanical engineering.

Former headquarters of Germanischer Lloyd, main building, Hamburg, Vorsetzen 35

In 1977 there was a further expansion of the field of activity with the area of ​​hydraulic engineering (for example the construction of locks ) and the entry into wind energy . Germanischer Lloyd was hit hard by the shipbuilding crisis in the 1980s, so that in 1987 a decline of 50 percent compared to 1985 was recorded. However, the recovery quickly resumed, thanks to the broad diversification .

In the following years there was a steady increase in sales. However, there was a slump in the statistics of growth in 1999, which is mainly due to the Asian crisis, the crisis in Russia and the weak economic growth in Europe.

Every division of the shipping sector was in recession in mid-2004 , which resulted in some postponements and cancellations of newbuildings. Nevertheless, Germanischer Lloyd is today the fourth largest classification society in the world in terms of the number of ships classified. 28 percent of the world's container ship tonnage travels with the class of Germanischer Lloyd, and he has overseen more than 50 percent of the container ship newbuildings in the past three years. At the end of October 2005 the number of newbuildings and the fleet in service was 5800 ships with 54.3 million GT ( gross tonnage ).

The number of employees has also risen steadily, which is also a consequence of the success of this classification society. A total of over 3,200 employees were active in 191 stations in 78 countries around the world. Among them were more than 1700 engineers from various disciplines (as of September 2006).

Last headquarters of Germanischer Lloyd, main building at Brooktorkai 18 in Hamburg's HafenCity

In December 2006 the competitor Bureau Veritas submitted a hostile takeover offer , which was outbid by the purchase offer of the former coffee industrialist Günter Herz, supported by the management and the workforce , who took over 90 percent of the shares on December 15, 2006 and thus ensured the independence of the classification society .

From February 2010, Germanischer Lloyd was located in the new GL main building in HafenCity (Brooktorkai 18, 20457 Hamburg).

On December 20, 2012 it was announced that Germanischer Lloyd is aiming for a merger with Det Norske Veritas (DNV), one of its competitors in the field of ship classification. The new group is called DNV GL Group . The Norway-based DNV Foundation held 63.5% of the shares in DNV GL Group, while the investment company Mayfair around Günter Herz held 36.5%. The merger of Germanischer Lloyd with Det Norske Veritas took effect on September 12, 2013.
After taking over the 36.5% stake in Herz-Holding Mayfair in December 2017, the independent Det Norske Veritas Foundation now owns all the shares in DNV GL.

The class specification of Germanischer Lloyd

The listing of the class symbols in the Classification Clause of the Institute of London Underwriters, which is particularly important for the international recognition of a classification society, took place again on April 1, 1952. The keeping of a ship register is an essential prerequisite for recognition. The ship register is a documentation of the respective condition of the ships that are classified by Germanischer Lloyd. After a seagoing ship has been classified by Germanischer Lloyd, a certificate is issued (Certificate of Classification) that relates to the hull; it can also include the machinery and electrical equipment on board. The following is a complete example of a class specification:

Notation additive
ship + 100 A 5 E1 container ship
machine + MC E1 AUT
Freeboard mark

The signs are to be interpreted as follows:

  • + (Hanseatenkreuz) The hull, the engine and any special equipment were built under the supervision and according to the regulations of Germanischer Lloyd. All materials and components were checked by him. If there is a point above the symbol, it means that all parts were built under the supervision of a different classification society and were later (adopted) classified by Germanischer Lloyd.
  • 100 A 5: The number 100 expresses that this hull complies 100 percent with the requirements of the building regulations.
  • The letter stands for the building material (here: steel).
  • The number 5 indicates the duration of the class period, which means that the class of the ship is valid for 5 years.
  • MC refers to the machinery and other equipment. They also comply with the regulations of Germanischer Lloyd.
  • E1 means that this ship is ice-capable. For the ice class , GL uses a scale from E to E4, where E4 is the highest classification and ARC1 to ARC4 for icebreakers and ice-breaking cargo ships.
  • The addition of a container ship indicates that the ship has appropriate facilities.
  • AUT this abbreviation indicates that the machine is automated and can run for 24 hours without supervision.

The class will now be preserved as long as the ships are subject to regular inspections and any repairs or improvements are carried out to the satisfaction of Germanischer Lloyd.

If there are incidents that damage the ship, an inspection must be carried out in the next port. If the corresponding parts no longer meet the requirements of the class, this will expire unless repairs are carried out immediately. This could have serious consequences, as insurance cover may no longer apply or higher premiums may be due. Furthermore, a loss of image would probably be expected.


  • Franz Paetow: The classification of ships, a contribution to the program of a German Lloyd for the classification of ships . 1864 (brochure)
  • R. Werner: The Germanischer Lloyd, German society for the classification of ships . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . Vol. 53 (1869), p. 145 (No. 1364 of August 21, 1869)
  • Human life, goods and the environment - under the protection of the world's largest classification society · The success story of the DNV GL Group began 150 years ago . In: Schiff & Hafen , issue 7/2014, pp. 28–55, ISSN  0938-1643

Web links

Commons : Germanischer Lloyd  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Facts and figures about Germanischer Lloyd .
  2. Germanischer Lloyd press release on
  3. ^ Merger of DNV and GL . In: Schiff & Hafen , issue 10/2013, p. 7
  4. cf. R. Werner: The Germanischer Lloyd . In: Illustrirte Zeitung , vol. 53, p. 145
  5. ^ German-Norwegian gigantic wedding . In: Hansa , Heft 2/2013, S. 16/17, ISSN  0017-7504
  6. ↑ The Herz siblings sell their stake in the engineering company DNV GL. Die Zeit , December 14, 2017, archived from the original on December 17, 2017 ; accessed on December 16, 2017 .
  7. The cross was originally a Hanseatic cross . The plus sign was introduced on an equal footing with the typewriter , telex and ASCII in order to ensure international exchange. In visually appealing documents, the only Unicode character with a similar shape is used: U + 2720 ✠ (actually Maltese cross). In times of war, the shape was occasionally slightly modified as an iron cross .