Elke Büdenbender, the wife of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has officially christened Hapag-Lloyd’s 23,600 TEU vessel, the Berlin Express.
Büdenbender performed the formal christening of the ship at the Container Terminal Burchardkai (Athabaskakai) in the Port of Hamburg in front of 300 guests from business and political backgrounds.
Among those in attendance were Hamburg First Mayor, Peter Tschentscher, and Schleswig-Holstein Minister President, Daniel Günther.
The Hamburg Express class is expected to have a dozen large containerships in operation by 2025, with the intention of making a substantial contribution to Hapag-Lloyd’s aspirations to run its whole fleet in a climate-neutral manner by 2045.
They will also be able to use non-fossil fuels, such as bio-methane and e-methane, due to its dual-fuel technology, resulting in almost no CO2 emissions, according to Hapag-Lloyd.
For the time being, liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be utilised, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent and soot emissions by 95 per cent.
The Berlin Express was reportedly built at the Hanwha Ocean shipyard in South Korea. With a length of almost 400 metres and 23,600 TEU capacity, it is the largest cargo ship ever to sail under German flag.
The containerships in the Hamburg Express class will exclusively operate on the cargo-intensive Far East route between Asia and Europe, according to Hapag-Lloyd.
The Berlin Express will operate regularly on the FE3 service, which sails between Ningbo and Hamburg, via Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Yantian, Hong Kong, Singapore and Rotterdam.
Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, said: “With the new Hamburg Express class, Hapag-Lloyd is at a turning point. The highly efficient ships will allow us to reduce our emissions immediately and to a very significant degree.
“At the same time, they are an important building block in our strategy to gradually push ahead with decarbonisation. All the vessels in this class will sail under German flag and thereby make an important contribution to strengthening Germany as a shipping hub.”