Colombo Express, the world’s largest containership at 1099 ft. (335 m) long, 141 ft. (43 m) wide, and able to carry 8,750 containers, was recently named. The patron of the new Hapag-Lloyd flagship was Christiane Krumnow, wife of the supervisory board chairman of TUI AG, Dr. Jürgen Krumnow
“Global container transport remains a growth market,” said Michael Behrendt, chairman of the executive board of Hapag-Lloyd AG. “Today’s volume of 71 million standard containers is forecast to grow to almost 91 million by 2008 – an increase of almost 30% or 20 million containers. With our fleet expansion program, we are well equipped to meet the challenges of the future and fully intend to continue to expand our market position." The ship was built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea. It has a capacity of 104,000 tons and can carry 8,750 standard containers. The ship's diesel has an output of 68,640 kW or 93,500 hp, providing the vessel with a speed of 25 knots.
The newbuilding with Hamburg as home port operates between Europe and Asia, calling at the ports Shanghai, Xiamen, Yantian, Hong Kong, Singapore
, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Port Klang, Singapore, Hong Kong and again Shanghai.
Hapag-Lloyd will commission seven more sister ships as well as two slightly smaller units (8,400 slots) up to 2008. This means a capacity increase of overall 86,800 slots (TEU). Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet, today comprising 51 modern containerships with a total capacity of approx. 192,000 TEU, will increase to 61 units by 2008.
Why "Colombo Express"?
Containerships at Hapag-Lloyd traditionally bear the name of a city, followed by "Express". In 1886, North German Lloyd in Bremen, one of the two original companies of Hapag-Lloyd, opened its East Asia service with the steamship "Oder", calling at Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as Colombo. In the same year, a service was set up linking Germany with Australia via Colombo. Colombo was not only an important transhipment hub for Hapag-Lloyd in the past: it has remained a key port up to the present day. Customers are provided with seven weekly departures providing links with the world’s main economic centres. The port is also a significant transhipment hub for the Indian subcontinent.
Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft, known for short as "Hapag" or Hamburg-American Line, was founded in 1847 to carry emigrants to the "New World". Its greatest competitor was North German Lloyd, founded in Bremen in 1857. The companies merged in 1970 to form Hapag-Lloyd AG
, which has belonged to TUI AG since 1997.