Hamburg-American Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft

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Hamburg-American Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft

legal form Corporation
founding 1847
resolution 1970
Reason for dissolution fusion
Seat Hamburg
Branch Liner shipping

The Hamburg-American Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft ( HAPAG , also Hamburg-America-Line or Hapag for short ) was a German shipping company that was founded in Hamburg on May 27, 1847 . The lines of the shipping company spanned the whole world in the course of time. The company's motto was “My field is the world!” . After 123 years, HAPAG merged with Bremer Norddeutscher Lloyd on September 1, 1970 to form Hapag-Lloyd AG .


Headquarters on the Inner Alster
Adolph Godeffroy


HAPAG was founded in 1847 with a relatively small capital of 300,000 Mark Banco . The shares at a price of 5,000 Mark Banco were only allowed to change hands with the approval of the management ( restricted transferability registered shares ) and were only issued to Hamburg citizens. Among the founders were respected Hamburg merchants and shipowners, such as Adolph Godeffroy , Ferdinand Laeisz , Ernst Merck , Carl Woermann and August Bolten . Adolph Godeffroy became the chairman of the company, which operated a liner service between Hamburg and North America from the start.

From sailing to steamship

Although there have been successful steamer lines on the transatlantic route since 1840, e.g. B. the Cunard Line , the Hamburgers didn't quite trust the steamship. The first HAPAG ship was the full ship Germany of 538  GRT , equipped for 20 cabin passengers as well as 200 emigrants and cargo. The main business was the transport of passengers, especially emigrants; At first, freight was of secondary importance. On October 15, 1848, HAPAG began its liner service with Germany between Hamburg and New York. Business was good and soon allowed the construction of further sailing ships , until finally at the shipyard of Caird & Company in Greenock (Scotland) who built the first steamboat. In 1855 the sister ships Hammonia  (I) and Borussia (I) (2131 GRT each) began service. Outwardly they still looked like sailing ships, but had a central black chimney. With these ships began the tradition of having names end in ia , similar to the Cunard Line. As the fleet grew, it was later abandoned. 1857 followed likewise by Caird & Co. built sister ships Austria and Saxonia (per 2,684 GRT), and a year later bought the Teutonia  (I) and Bavaria  (I) of a bankrupt shipping company, as a substitute for Austria , the Sank in the North Atlantic in 1858. This year, HAPAG faced competition from its own country through Norddeutscher Lloyd in Bremen, but stayed ahead and opened the liner service to Canada . In 1863 another steamer came to the fleet with the Germania (2123 BRT), followed in 1865 by the Allemannia  (I). In 1868 the shipping company's last sailing ship, the second in Germany , was sold, and HAPAG was now a pure steamship line.

Ascension and the struggle for survival

Headquarters, back entrance on Ferdinandstrasse

Political events influenced the company's business success. The civil war in the USA from 1861-1865 caused the number of emigrants to decline. The German-Danish War of 1864 or the Franco-German War from 1870 to 1871 were not beneficial either. But HAPAG held one of the top positions in the industry. In 1867 she set up a service to New Orleans , which disappointed expectations and was discontinued in 1874. The West India ( Caribbean ) and South American services , opened in 1871, developed positively, however. From 1866 the first 3000-tonne trucks of the second Hammonia class were added to the HAPAG fleet, and in 1872 the first newbuildings were ordered from a German shipyard with the sister ships Alsatia and Lotharingia (1186 GRT).

In 1872 there was competition from the German Transatlantic Shipping Company , based in Hamburg, known as the Adler Line for short after the shipping company flag. The newcomer ordered seven steamers (named after German poets) of 3500 GRT, which were faster and more comfortable than HAPAG's ships. The fierce competition was intensified by an economic crisis in the USA . The passage price fell to 30 thalers and both shipping companies suffered losses of millions. The Adler-Linie, heavily burdened by the new buildings and the high operating costs of its high-performance machines, was forced to merge with HAPAG in 1875, which was itself very close to collapse. The HAPAG fleet, reinforced by the Adler ships, now had overcapacity, and many ships in the second Hammonia class had to be sold after a few years of service. In addition to the North German Lloyd , the Holland-Amerika Lijn from Rotterdam and the Red Star Line from Antwerp also competed on the transatlantic route .

In 1880 the chairman Adolph Godeffroy retired after 33 years. In the meantime, HAPAG was no longer a leader. The third Hammonia , put into service in 1883, was very small compared to the ships of the competition with 4227 GRT. The British had already had ships of this type in service ten years earlier, and Norddeutsche Lloyd commissioned the first express steamers with the 5,000 GRT ships of the river class . Since 1881, HAPAG has been in fierce competition with the Carr Line, which Edward Carr had founded in 1880 to transport emigrants from Hamburg to New York. His ships only carried emigrants and allowed them the luxury of being able to stay on the whole ship. The prices fell from 120  marks to a loss-making 80 marks. In 1886, Carr merged with Robert Miles Sloman's shipping company to form Union Line and agreed with HAPAG to split the market. HAPAG took over the sole management of the passenger business of both shipping companies and undertook to carry at least a quarter of the passengers on ships of the Union Line. In addition, HAPAG took over Albert Ballin as head of the passenger department at Carr, which was to be of particular importance for the company's fortunes. In 1888 the Carr line was bought up and HAPAG and Sloman shared the business with the Union line.

Advertisement for HAPAG on the tethered balloon, which served as an attraction at the electrical engineering exhibition in Frankfurt in 1891 .

The Albert Ballin era

Albert Ballin was not yet 30 years old when he started restructuring the passenger business at HAPAG. The shipping company had lost a lot of ground in recent years. To improve her position, after long debates, she ordered her first express steamers. Between 1888 and 1891 the sister ships Augusta Victoria , Columbia (each 7,661 GRT) as well as Normannia and Fürst Bismarck with 8,700 GRT each were put into service. This series received a lot of international attention, and the Fürst Bismarck was fought as a record-breaking ship in the battle for the Blue Ribbon . HAPAG caught up and things were clearly looking up, not least thanks to Albert Ballin, who was appointed to the board of directors in 1888. In 1892 the steamship shipping company "Hansa" was bought with its five freighters and the route network to Philadelphia and Baltimore . The HAPAG fleet then consisted of 45 steamers with 135,000 GRT. From 1889 an ocher-colored chimney was the distinguishing feature of the HAPAG ships.

From the 1890s, the HAPAG fleet, which from 1893 also referred to itself as the Hamburg-America Line, was expanded on a large scale. The beginning was made in 1894 with the five ships of the small P-class - Persia , Prussia , Phenicia , Patria , Palatia - of 7,300 GRT each. This series was followed in 1896 by the first 10,000 ton trucks from HAPAG, the five ships in the large B class: Brasilia  (I), Bulgaria , Belgravia , Batavia , Belgia  (I). Also from 1896 the four ships of the large P-class came into service: Pennsylvania , Pretoria , Patricia , Graf Waldersee . The Pennsylvania was with her 13,000 GRT for a short time the largest ship in the world. Between 1896 and 1901 HAPAG put a series of 17 ships with 5400-6600 GRT into service - A-Class - which were planned for the slower services. From 1898 the small B-Class - Bengalia , Bosnia , Bethania , Brisgravia , Belgia  (II), Badenia - with 7600 GRT each was put into operation. HAPAG had fought its way back to the top, but North German Lloyd drove away with Kaiser Wilhelm der Große , Germany's first Blue Ribbon holder. Not only did the Bremer Lloyd have the fastest ship in the world, with over 14,000 GRT it was also the largest that HAPAG had to counter. In 1899 Albert Ballin was appointed general manager of the shipping company, and in 1900 the third Germany was put into service. At 16,703 GRT, it was the largest ship in the world, and at 22.42  knots it won the Blue Ribbon. But the experience with Germany was not the best. At high speeds the machinery vibrated so strongly that it was noticed throughout the ship. Despite several modifications, the problem could not be resolved. Albert Ballin had the performance throttled because the operating costs were too high and the profits too small - the racehorse turned into a leisurely plowed horse.

At the same time as the White Star Line , HAPAG also decided to make the size and comfort of the ships its main attraction. The Germany remained the only Blue Ribbon owner of the shipping company. If Lloyd could soon get the trophy back and own the fastest ships, HAPAG owned the most profitable ones. The company put new, larger ships into service in the near future, for example the Amerika with 22,225 GRT in 1905 and the Empress Auguste Viktoria with 24,581 GRT in 1906 . Both were the largest ships in the world when they were commissioned.

Emigrants in Hamburg
Dome hall of the HAPAG hall in Cuxhaven, 1904
On-board postcard of the HAPAG steamer König Friedrich August from 1911
HAL catalogs with travel destinations and photos from board, embossed crocodile leather, 1921
Company building in Tsingtau

New berths had to be purchased for the constantly growing fleet. New facilities were built in Cuxhaven , the HAPAG halls , as well as in Hamburg in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Hafen and in the Ellerholzhafen. In order to service the emigrants in Hamburg better, were on the Veddel from 1900 the emigrant halls built. This quarter, located far from the city center, was considered a model of cleanliness and effectiveness at the time. Every emigrant arriving by train had to undergo a personal check and an initial health check here. In order to prevent diseases from breaking out on the ships, emigrants remained in quarantine for up to 14 days before they were allowed to go on the ships. With this measure, HAPAG also ensured that destitute emigrants could not get into the city. On the one hand, this way Hamburgers were not bothered by the emigrants, on the other hand the inexperienced emigrants were protected from being talked into overpriced and useless goods. The steadily growing number of emigrants who traveled via Hamburg proves the good reputation that society earned through these measures.

In 1900, HAPAG opened the liner service to East Asia, the freight sector in-house and the passenger service in association with North German Lloyd (NDL). For the passenger service one received state subsidies and therefore also operated as the Reichspostdienst. HAPAG commissioned the two 10,000-tonne Hamburg and Kiautschou , replicas of the Barbarossa class of the NDL , specifically for this service .

But in 1903 they withdrew from the passenger service to East Asia, the Hamburg was used on the transatlantic line, and the Kiautschou was sold to Lloyd, but the freight line was retained and expanded. In 1900, HAPAG acquired the Deutsche Dampfschiff-Reederei (Kingsin Line) and 14 ships from the AC de Freitas & Co. shipping company in order to avoid competition in East Asia (Kingsin) and on the South America Line (de Freitas). HAPAG also ventured into entirely new business areas. In 1903, under Albert Ballin, new refrigerated ships were developed for the transport of mail, passengers and bananas, which were used in the Caribbean-North American service. The Sarnia and Sibiria were conversions, the new ones Emil L. Boas and Carl Schurz were very comfortable and became the model for the United Fruit Company (later Chiquita ), which was in the process of building its own refrigerated ship fleet. This fleet with new, comfortable reefer ships with sophisticated passenger facilities later became a household name under the name Great White Fleet .

The first cruise ships were built on a grand scale under Albert Ballin, of course only for the financially better off upper class . From 1891, HAPAG ships carried out Mediterranean cruises (a world first at the time), primarily in the winter months, which were otherwise underutilized. Since 1893 there was a line from Genoa via Gibraltar to New York , in 1898 a line was established over the Suez Canal to Australia and from there to the US Pacific ports ( Los Angeles , San Francisco ) and the Canadian Vancouver . After Vancouver there was also another route that led around South America via the US Pacific ports. In 1907 HAPAG opened a liner service to Africa with which HAPAG ships connected all continents with Germany. On the world's major rivers - the Amazon , Nile , Huang Ho and Yangtze  - the shipping company maintained its own fleets of river vessels that never called at a German port.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the US bank tycoon JP Morgan began to buy up a number of respected foreign shipping companies, including such big names as the White Star Line , the Leyland Line or the Red Star Line . His aim was actually to build a transatlantic monopoly, but nothing came of it, because some shipping companies did not want to be taken over, such as the British Cunard Line or the French Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (CGT). In 1904 Morgan merged its purchases in the International Mercantile Marine Co. ( IMMC ), Morgan may not have the monopoly, but at least it had a significant market share. For HAPAG, at that time already the largest shipping company in the world, a takeover was out of the question, as was the case for the second largest, North German Lloyd. However, both shipping companies had certain fears, not least because the largest US railroad company, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad , Morgan, was owned, so an agreement was necessary.

HAPAG and Lloyd made an offer to Morgan to split the market. Together with Holland-Amerika Lijn and Red Star Line , as representatives of the Morgan Trust, a contract was signed that divided the passengers between the four companies. This probably prevented a ruinous competition for both sides. The two German shipping companies had to pay part of their dividends to the trust if they were above six percent. But the most important thing was that both companies, including Holland-Amerika Lijn, remained independent. In 1912 the Morgan Agreement was terminated with mutual consent, also because Morgan himself had probably lost interest.

HAPAG continued to grow, Albert Ballin maintained excellent relationships with the leading circles in Germany at the time, especially with the Kaiser , Wilhelm II. Whenever the Kaiser visited Hamburg, he was also a guest of Albert Ballin. In 1910, under the chairmanship of Louis Leisler Kiep , father of the former CDU treasurer Walther Leisler Kiep , HAPAG took over the entire advertising and passenger handling for the zeppelins of Deutsche Luftschiffahrts AG (Delag). This cooperation lasted until 1937. In 1912, the ship architect became Ernst Foerster Head of Shipbuilding. In 1913, HAPAG put the world's largest ship, the Imperator (52,117 GRT), into service; at full capacity, it offered space for more than 4,000 passengers, the majority of them in the tween deck (2000). The sister ship, the Vaterland, followed in 1914 , with 54,282 GRT, and the next superlative was already waiting for the Helgen from Blohm & Voss , the Bismarck with 56,551 GRT, as the third unit of the Imperator class. In 1914, on the eve of the First World War , the HAPAG fleet consisted of 175 ships with 1,038,645 GRT in active service and 19 ships with 268,766 GRT that were under construction. These included the first cargo ships of over 10,000 GRT. HAPAG operated 73 liner services worldwide, 400 ports were called by HAPAG ships, and 22,500 people were employed by the company.

In the Ballin era, a new HAPAG administration building for 300 employees was built on the Inner Alster, designed by Martin Haller and inaugurated in 1903. Since 1997 is the magnificent building - following the example of Italian Renaissance -Paläste lavishly decorated with pillars, stone statues and bronze sculptures - officially Ballin House (not to be confused with the former as Ballinhaus designated Meßberghof in Kontorhausviertel ).

First World War

With the start of the war, the liner services could no longer be continued. Only 80 ships could be anchored in the safe German harbors, 95 ships sought refuge in neutral ports, especially in the USA or South America, and were interned or laid up there. The company also looked for a livelihood during the war, especially for the main office in Hamburg with its many employees. HAPAG buildings were converted into military hospitals and hospitals or made available to the German Red Cross . Army contracts were sought and received for the workshops. So were z. B. converted railway wagons into hospital trains . The ships laid up in the German ports also had to be serviced and repaired.

In 1917 the United States went to war, and so did many other states. A large part of the ships laid up in those states were thus confiscated. In the USA alone there were 35 units, including the Vaterland . Thus more than half of the shipping company fleet was lost. Added to this was the deteriorating course of the war for Germany, about the outcome of which in 1918 there were no longer any illusions. Albert Ballin, who saw his entire life's work collapse and could no longer believe in any improvement, took his own life on November 9, 1918, already suffering from severe health problems, by taking an overdose of strong tablets, another serious loss for HAPAG besides that of the ship fleet. His successor on December 20, 1918 , was Privy Councilor Wilhelm Cuno from the Thuringian town of Suhl , who was personally brought in by Ballin for the package trip and was designated as his designated successor. Due to the provisions of the Versailles Treaty , HAPAG had to deliver all remaining ships over 1,600 GRT to the Entente powers.


The reconstruction of HAPAG after the war is closely linked to the name of Wilhelm Cuno. In 1919 the seaside resort service was reopened, as were the services to Cuba , Mexico , the Levant and Africa with chartered ships and two small newbuildings. In 1920 the Deutsche Levante Line (DLL) was merged with HAPAG and continued as a subsidiary. On February 27, 1921, the Reichstag passed the Shipping Company Compensation Act, which secured the financing of newbuildings and buybacks of former tonnage. Cuno was extremely careful that the state aid was used for the reconstruction but not for the acquisition of state control over the shipping company. At the international level, HAPAG concluded agreements with several foreign shipping companies such as the Kerr Group, Blue Funnel Line or Ellerman Lines and took over the handling of ships on these lines in German ports. In 1920 HAPAG signed a contract with the American Harriman Group. The important thing was that the Germans were equal partners again for the first time after the war. Both partners remained financially completely independent and committed to working together on all lines, except to East Asia. In 1921 the transatlantic service was resumed in cooperation with United American Lines (UAL), part of the Harriman Group. In 1921 and 1922, HAPAG gradually resumed all of its old liner services as soon as suitable tonnage was available.

Medal of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory in memory of the maiden voyage of the SS Albert Ballin from Hamburg to New York via Southampton in 1923.
Menu for the farewell dinner on board the steamer RELIANCE on September 25, 1929

HAPAG also developed more activities in other areas outside of seafaring. Via the Deutsche Luftreederei and Aero Union AG, founded in 1921, HAPAG participated in air traffic with aircraft, and there were also activities with the Zeppelins via Delag. In 1923, HAPAG and Norddeutscher Lloyd merged their aviation interests in Deutsche Aero Lloyd, through which they co-founded Deutsche Lufthansa in 1926 .

In 1923 the reconstruction was almost complete, the HAPAG fleet comprised 78 seagoing vessels with 388,827 GRT. In that year, the two large passenger liners Albert Ballin and Germany , each with 21,455 GRT, were brought into the North Atlantic service, followed by the two structurally identical follow-up structures of the Ballin class, Hamburg and New York , by 1927 . These four ships were the first real HAPAG liners after the war. In 1926 Harriman transferred his United American Line to HAPAG, which gave them back three of their former ships - Resolute , Reliance and Cleveland . The UAL was dissolved, Harriman remained financially involved. However, HAPAG had regained sole control. In 1926, HAPAG also ran into problems in its own country; by taking over the Stinnes-Linien, the Deutsch-Austral-Kosmos Group was now in direct competition in almost all shipping areas, and that from the same port of departure. HAPAG was offered the shares in Deutsch-Austral and DDG Kosmos and had to take action to prevent ruinous competition or a takeover of Deutsch-Austral-Kosmos by a foreign shipping company. The merger was completed on November 24, 1926, the HAPAG fleet received an increase of 37 seagoing vessels with 210,000 GRT, and the Stinnes fleet added a further 23 seagoing vessels with 140,000 GRT. Australia , the Dutch East Indies ( Indonesia ) and South Africa could now be added to the route network . By the start of the global economic crisis , in 1929, the tonnage of the HAPAG fleet had increased again to over 1 million tons, more precisely 1,114,826 GRT and well over a hundred seagoing vessels. HAPAG also took over the black-white-red cap over the ocher-colored chimney from Deutsch-Austral-Kosmos.

Great Depression and the Union Treaty

Share over 100 RM in Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-AG from July 1932

In 1929, HAPAG took the two 16,000-tonne St. Louis and Milwaukee into transatlantic service, both of which were powered by diesel engines. With the global economic crisis, the shipping company soon had to struggle with extremely falling transport rates, both in passenger shipping and in the freight sector. In addition, the competition to the North German Lloyd revived. However, HAPAG and Lloyd endeavored to avoid tough competition, and this was only possible through cooperation. Initially, both tried to get a bigger advantage as the crisis spread. In the end, the idea of ​​prestige had to give way to profitability, not least because the banks involved in the shipping companies also had their fingers in the game. On March 22, 1930, the Union Treaty between Hapag and Lloyd was concluded for mutual support and promotion according to uniform criteria and with uniform cooperation, waiving any priority . The contract contained provisions on common and uniform guidelines in ship operation, the organization of passenger transport and much more, but both were still responsible for the maintenance of their fleets.

The crisis continued, a large part of the fleet was laid up and released for scrapping early. In 1931, HAPAG ordered the two sister ships, the Caribia and Cordillera, of 12,000 GRT each, and the government financially contributed to the construction as a kind of job creation measure for the shipyard. Both came into service in 1933 and were used in the Central America Service, where they became very popular. In 1932 the German government gave high subsidies to the shipping sector in the form of scrapping premiums. HAPAG received 300,000 Reichsmarks for 100,000 GRT of scrapped ship space  ; the shipping company was subsidized for the first time in its history. In 1934 the bottom was reached, and things slowly went up, the company had to be restructured, and that required money. The share capital of HAPAG was increased and new shares were issued. The majority of these were bought up by the Reich, which thus had the majority of shares - they had lost their independence. Wilhelm Cuno was spared this development, he died of a heart attack in 1933. He was followed by Marius Bögner, shortly afterwards by Max Oboussier and, in 1935, by the lawyer Walter Hoffmann. Their NSDAP membership probably played a not insignificant role in these post requirements.

In 1935, HAPAG and Tannenberg participated in the East Prussian Sea Service , which was carried out by the Reich government in order to be able to bypass the Polish corridor.

The state and Nazi functional elites did not interfere in the internal affairs of HAPAG - regardless of the assumption of debts, massive financing of their business losses and subsidization of their operating costs - but they set the general direction to be followed. In 1936, the Africa and South America services had to be transferred to Deutsche Afrika Linien (DAL) and Hamburg Süd , respectively. Behind this was the intention of the Reich Ministry of Transport to no longer finance the predatory competition between the two prestigious Hanseatic shipping companies HAPAG and NDL from the state budget. HAPAG felt compelled to dismiss its “non-Aryan” staff. The management also now denied the man who had once made the company great: Albert Ballin. This was a Jew and had to be erased from the company's history in accordance with the ideology of the Nazi regime. The ship that bore his name was renamed Hansa  (II). The transatlantic service was operated together with Lloyd under the name Nordatlantikdienst GmbH (Norda) , and the Reich paid for the losses. On the eve of the Second World War , the shipping company increasingly fought against National Socialist Germany with worldwide economic boycott measures. The company was not a stronghold of resistance against the regime. As early as 1929/30, the management had supported the local NSDAP, which at that time was still relatively insignificant in Hamburg. In 1939, with the Patria (16,595 GRT), HAPAG commissioned its last new passenger ship before the war and commissioned Blohm & Voss to build its last ever new passenger ship, the second fatherland, measured at 41,000 GRT . At the beginning of the war, the HAPAG fleet consisted of 108 ocean-going ships with 739,608 GRT and 14,000 employees.

Second World War

When war broke out, the scenario was repeated as it was 25 years earlier: Many of the ships could no longer reach a German port. Some of them were interned in neutral harbors, taken over into the navy or were lost through self-sinking. The interned ships were confiscated when the respective states entered the war. Barely twenty ships with almost 100,000 GRT survived the war in an operational condition, and 89 units were lost to war events. In 1941 the German Reich sold its HAPAG shares to Hanseatic merchants, which re-privatized the company. HAPAG ships made their “last big appearance” in this war during the evacuation of civilians and soldiers from the eastern regions across the Baltic Sea in 1944/45 , and in 1945 the Patria was temporarily the place of residence of the arrested last German Reich government under Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz in Flensburg - Mürwik . At the end of the war, HAPAG practically only existed on paper, and the remaining tonnage had to be delivered to the Allies.


The reconstruction took place slowly and in small steps. The first services began in 1947, with chartered tonnage, and in 1948 HAPAG bought its first ship after the war, the 40-year-old Seebäder steamer Vorwärts . Perhaps one hoped that this name would have a certain signal effect. With the Allies easing the tonnage restrictions, larger ships could be used over time. The resurgence of the shipping company is closely linked to Werner Traber , the long-standing CEO of HAPAG, as is the strengthening of the German economy as a whole. In 1950, HAPAG put its first own tonnage back into service, the Hamburg with 2826 GRT and the Sachsenwald (ex Somerville ). The last Allied restrictions ( Potsdam Agreement ) did not fall until 1951.

HAPAG tried to resume the earlier liner services. Since this could not be done on its own, the partnership with the Bremen-based North German Lloyd, which had already been practiced before the war, was renewed. The Central America Service was started first, followed by the North Atlantic Service in 1953, South America and East Asia, and then in 1954 Indonesia with Braunschweig- class ships specially built for this service (including Darmstadt , Dortmund , Düsseldorf , Essen and Hoechst ). East Asia (Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, via Colombo and Singapore) was also the first re-engagement of the shipping company after the war in passenger service, with the appropriate for freight and passengers combi ships of the Hamburg-Class , this mixed service rentierte but only moderately, as more travelers now preferred the plane .

The Westfalia - named after their ship class

In 1957, HAPAG bought the 7700 GRT Patricia from the Swedish Svenska Lloyd and put her into service as Ariadne . Planned for cruises, however, the result fell short of expectations and the ship was sold as early as 1960. After that, the shipping company did not put any other passenger ships into service, but concentrated solely on cargo shipping. From 1965, the Westfalia class, a six-series of 10,000-tonne freighters, was put into service, initially serving the Far East service and later (with five units) Indonesia. In the meantime, HAPAG has once again become one of the most important shipping companies in the world.

Container and Fusion

In the maritime industry, the coming major changes were already evident at the beginning of the 1960s - the container . High investments were necessary for the changeover, and a further deepening of the cooperation with Norddeutscher Lloyd was agreed. In 1965, the Hapag-Lloyd container line, based in Hamburg, was founded by amalgamating the two North Atlantic services. Both partners commissioned two 14,000 GRT container ships in the Elbe Express class , each with 750 spaces, and put them into service in 1968 and 1969 respectively. In 1969, both partners each ordered a 15,000 GRT container ship for the Australia service, followed by two 55,000 GRT ships each with 3000 slots for the East Asia service. The investment volume of both partners reached millions. In 1967, HAPAG was hit by a special kind of accident: when the Six-Day War broke out between Israel and Egypt , the Münsterland was trapped in the Great Bitter Lake , part of the Suez Canal , along with 13 other ships . It was not until 1975 that the ship was released again and reached Hamburg.

It was foreseeable that further container ships would have to be commissioned, as the containerization of the seafaring developed rapidly. As a result of this development, HAPAG and Norddeutsche Lloyd merged on September 1, 1970 to form Hapag-Lloyd AG . After 123 years of successful existence, HAPAG ceased to exist.

Timeline of HAPAG post-war cargo ship classes 1950–1980 (selection)
Class / years 1950s 1960s 1970s
0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9
Brandenburg class
Odenwald and Spreewald
Stuttgart type
Braunschweig class
Solingen class
Hamburg class
University class construction time Working time sale
Dresden type
Saarland class
Marburg type
Nuremberg type
Westfalia class
Hanover type
Weser Express class
Omni class

HAPAG seagoing ships 1848–1970

The German Levante Newspaper

The German newspaper Levante was during the First World War, temporary body including the Hamburg-America Line.


  • Susanne Wiborg, Klaus Wiborg: 1847–1997, My field is the world - 150 years of Hapag-Lloyd . Festschrift published by Hapag-Lloyd AG, Hamburg 1997.
  • Bodo Hans Moltmann: History of the German merchant shipping . Edited by Walter Kresse, 1981 (Volume 43 of the publications of the Economic Research Center eV) ISBN 3-922857-02-7 .
  • Hartmut Rübner: Concentration and Crisis in German Shipping. Maritime economy and politics in the German Empire, in the Weimar Republic and in National Socialism , Hauschild, Bremen 2005, ISBN 3-89757-238-9 .
  • Johannes Gerhardt: Albert Ballin and the rise of Hapag . In: Hansa , Heft 4/2012, pp. 53–56 and Heft 5/2012, pp. 70–72, Schiffahrts-Verlag Hansa, Hamburg 2012, ISSN  0017-7504 .
  • Hanns von Zobeltitz : Behind the scenes of the Hamburg-America-Line (=  Velhagen & Klasings monthly books . Volume 19 , 1904/1905, part 1). 1904, OCLC 779196962 , pp. 33–54 (22 pages also available as separate prints from the series).

Web links

Commons : Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ "Augsburger Allgemeine", "The Date", October 15, 2007
  2. From Hamburg, mid-July (On board the “Austria”) (Feuilleton), in: Abendblatt Wiener Zeitung of July 20, 1858, pp. 13-14
  3. However, there have also been cases of emigration fraud in which Hapag did not play such a good figure - especially in Eastern Europe, see: Frauds in the Eastern European emigration market.
  4. Gottfried Lintzer: AC de Freitas & Co - Kaufmannsreeder , Norderstedt 2010, ISBN 978-3-8391-5759-6 , pp. 117-120
  5. Hapag-Lloyd: Headquarters on Ballindamm turns 100 , from July 1, 2003
  6. Compare the information from the Commerzbibliothek of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce according to the catalog of the Joint Library Network (GBV)