German Line Celebrates 150 Anniversary

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
North German Lloyd (Norddeutscher Lloyd - NDL) was founded by the H.H. Meier on February 20, 1857. Since its merger with Hapag in 1970, it has been part of Hapag-Lloyd, which is today among the top 5 in global container shipping.

“North German Lloyd was an institution. It played a key role in daily life and foreign trade, was the quintessence of trade and commerce, the embodiment of the rise of Bremen and Bremerhaven, an engine of industrial progress and promoted the founding of the town of Nordenham,” stated Michael Behrendt, chairman of the executive board of Hapag-Lloyd AG, in outlining the significance of the shipping line at the festive event in the Bremen town hall. He added that Lloyd created the foundation of shipbuilding in Bremen that was to flourish for decades and played a key role in the early days of aviation.

The legendary Lloyd founder H.H. Meier was also a vital figure in the establishment of Bremer Bank. North German Lloyd played a key role in making possible the great wave of European emigration to the new world, as it was founded primarily to carry emigrants with modern steamers rapidly and reliably to New York. Between 1830 and 1947, more than 7 million men, women and children – often poor, persecuted and desperate – left Germany and Europe via Bremerhaven to go overseas in the hope of a better life. Many of them travelled with North German Lloyd, which means that in the new world the family trees of millions of families are linked with Bremen and Lloyd.

Lloyd influenced people’s hopes, dreams and memories, and when it saw fit also the politics of the Senate. The proverbial “Lloyd spirit” stood for a unique link between a shipping line and its region. The company, for which Bremen was always much more than a location, had such a diverse and enduring impact that it is no exaggeration to say that Lloyd was Bremen.

Consequences of container transport When container transport necessitated high investment in new ships and containers at the end of the 1960s, Hapag and Lloyd decided to merge to form Hapag-Lloyd AG in 1970. “It was a wise move. And it has turned out to be a great success,” pointed out Dr. Michael Frenzel, chairman of the executive board of TUI AG and supervisory board chairman of Hapag-Lloyd AG, in his festive address. He noted that today Hapag-Lloyd is the world’s number 5 carrier, achieving a transport volume of over 5 million standard containers in 2006 and investing close on €2 billion in ships and containers in the past ten years since its acquisition by TUI.

“Not counting the acquisition of CP Ships, which involved an investment of about €1.7 billion. This acquisition represented a great step forward in securing our future in a consolidating market,” Frenzel added.

New mega containership “Bremen Express” There was a remarkable tradition in the history of North German Lloyd: over and over again a top ship was named “Bremen”. On the 150th anniversary of the founding of North German Lloyd, a big “Bremen” is soon to enter liner service again. “We’ll be naming a newbuilding the ‘Bremen Express’ in Bremerhaven in January 2008. With a capacity of close on 9,000 TEU, she will be one of the largest containerships in the world,” Behrendt announced.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of NDL, over 80 historic advertising posters of North German Lloyd (NDL) will be presented in the Bremen Overseas Museum. The exhibition comprises the largest collection of historic posters produced by the traditional Bremen shipping line ever shown, including such classics of advertising history as the motifs of the legendary fast steamers “Bremen” and “Europa”, whose names are still borne today by ships of Hapag- Lloyd’s cruise fleet. The posters provide an attractive, informative tour through a century of shipping, tourism and cultural history. In addition, the exhibition “Old, New, Brand-New” in honour of H.H. Meier jun. and Heinrich Wiegand will open in the Bremen Art Galley on February 20th. This exhibition is being promoted by Hapag-Lloyd AG. Finally, the German Shipping Museum in Bremerhaven will present a special exhibition on NDL from July 8th 2007. The comprehensive exhibits will also include NDL memorabilia in Bremen on permanent loan.

NDL and Hapag-Lloyd

A spirit of optimism was in the air 150 years ago – both among the emigrants who were on the way to what they hoped would be a better future for themselves and among companies, because they sensed new business opportunities. “Lloyd and Hapag were always right out in front in this respect. Both lines succeeded over many decades in adjusting to the ever faster change and helped to shape it. Neither of the founding companies are independently active today, but both live on in Hapag-Lloyd – a shipping line that is again in the top league in world shipping,” concluded Behrendt.

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