If you happened to find your way today to the top of Cantonment Hill, up above the Inner Harbour, this was your reward: a view of Sydney Express, a container ship from the Hapag-Lloyd line, currently sailing under the flag of Malta, in from Adelaide and departing tonight for Port Klang, Malaysia.
She’s a fairly new ship, built in 2016, and fairly big too, with a length of 300 metres and beam of 48 metres.
Sydney Express is quite a regular visitor to Freo. This is her fourth visit this year. In 2022, she visited 8 times.
However, she’s not the first vessel carrying the name Sydney Express to visit Fremantle. Her predecessor arrived in Freo in November 1970, in the early container trade days. At that time, the 1970s Sydney Express was the largest container ship in the world.
If you’re wondering about the ‘Express’ part of her name, well Hapag-Lloyd have or have had many Expresses in their fleet, including –
* Tokio Express (1973)
* Yantian Express (2012), formerly Shanghai Express (2002)
* Houston Express (2005)
* Savannah Express (2005)
* Colombo Express (2005)
* Kyoto Express (2005)
* Chicago Express (2006)
* Osaka Express (2007)
* Tsingtao Express (2007)
* Hong Kong Express (2013)
As to Hapag-Lloyd itself, the company was formed on 1 September 1970, just before the old Sydney Express arrived in Freo in the November, by the merger of two German transportation/maritime companies, Hamburg-American Line (HAPAG), which dated from 1847, and Norddeutscher Lloyd (known in English as North German Lloyd), which was formed in 1857.
Since its formation, Hapag-Lloyd has seen changes among its shareholders and has also undergone a number of mergers with other companies. For instance, Hapag-Lloyd was completely acquired by, and became a subsidiary of TUI AG (Hanover) in 1998. This transition was followed by TUI selling a majority stake of Hapag-Lloyd to private investors in Hamburg in 2009 and further sales in 2012. Other important events in the company’s history include Hapag-Lloyd’s acquisition of CP Ships in 2005 as well as Hapag-Lloyd’s merger with the container business of CSAV in 2014, and United Arab Shipping Company in 2017.
An interesting world, commercial shipping, with seemingly constant mergers and acquisitions that enable the shipping industry to keep on evolving to meet modern challenges.
Anyway, welcome back Sydney Express and bon voyage on your journey to Port Klang.
* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News
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