Hapag-Lloyd is a German transportation company comprising a cargo container shipping line and a cruise line.
Hapag-Lloyd's history dates back to 1847, when Hamburg businessmen founded the Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft company, (Hamburg-American Line), for shipping across the Atlantic Ocean.
A competitor, North German Lloyd, or NGL, was formed in Bremen in 1857, and began shipping across the Atlantic one year later.
In 1891, Albert Ballin invented the cruise liner, which would later be incorporated into both the Hapag and NGL ship fleets.
In 1910, Hapag became involved in the aviation industry for the first time, sponsoring Zeppelin flights.
During World War I, the entire Hapag fleet of 175 ships was wiped out and the NGL fleet of 135 ships was almost completely destroyed. Many ocean liners were lost during the conflict, leading to Ballen's suicide in 1918. The fleets of both companies were again wiped out during World War II.
Hapag and NGL continued to compete until establishing a joint-venture container line in 1968 and finally merging in 1970 under the name Hapag-Lloyd. Hapag-Lloyd was acquired in 1998 by TUI AG (Hanover), a tourism conglomerate, and became its fully-owned subsidiary in 2002. A retrenchment from that position through an offering of a minority of Hapag-Lloyd's shares on the stock market was planned in 2004. As part of that process, its business units other than the container line and cruise line were planned for divestiture.
The conglomerate founded the charter airline Hapag-Lloyd Airlines in 1972, buying a few Boeing 727s to fly its cruise passengers from Germany to the cruises' ports of call. The airline eventually added some regular passenger flights as well. Hapag-Lloyd Express, a low-fare, high-frequency airline, was initiated in the early 2000s. These eponymous companies are not owned by Hapag-Lloyd, however, but by TUI.
- Hapag-Lloyd (http://www.hapag-lloyd.com/pages/i_index.html)
- TUI AG (Hanover) (http://www.tui.com/en/)