The traditional Hamburg shipping company Hapag-Lloyd wants to significantly increase its global holdings in container terminals to more than 30. “Our goal is to expand our terminal portfolio by up to 10-15 terminals by 2030,” said Hapag-Lloyd boss Rolf Habben Jansen when presenting the new corporate strategy.

At the same time, costs are to be reduced by up to 20 percent and the fleet’s CO2 emissions by a third by 2030 – and on the other hand, punctuality is to be increased from around 50 percent to more than 80 percent. The aim is, among other things, to cement its position as the fifth largest shipping company in the world and to grow faster than the market in key regions such as Africa, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.

Concerns about the situation in the Middle East

According to its own information, Hapag-Lloyd has 266 container ships and an annual transport volume of 11.9 million standard containers (TEU). Only the container shipping companies MSC from Switzerland, Maersk from Denmark, CMA/CGM from France and Cosco from China are larger. Relatively close behind Hapag-Lloyd are the Singaporean container shipping company One and the Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen.

Habben Jansen was concerned about the situation in the Middle East. Because of the Houthi militias’ attacks on merchant ships, Hapag-Lloyd has for some time now had its giant containers take a long detour around the Cape of Good Hope instead of through the Suez Canal. This has no influence on the strategic goals for 2030, said Habben Jansen. “In the short term, however, this puts us under a lot of pressure.” Because of the detour, emissions increased in two ways: on the one hand, Hapag-Lloyd needed more fuel because of the longer route, and on the other hand, the ships had to travel faster in order to be able to adhere to timetables.

Hapag-Lloyd is aiming for the opposite in order to reduce both fuel costs and CO2 emissions. Over the past year and a half, it has been shown that the fleet is traveling an average of 1.0 to 1.5 knots slower. If the ships were to travel three knots slower, that would mean a reduction of almost five million tons of CO2 – out of a total production of around 15.5 million tons at Hapag-Lloyd, said Habben Jansen. “So the effect is really, really big.” To reduce costs, Hapag-Lloyd is also relying on larger ships and higher productivity.

In order to achieve the company’s goal of complete decarbonization by 2045, Hapag-Lloyd is also focusing on research and procurement of “green” fuels such as “green” methanol. That’s why the shipping company and Seaspan Corporation are converting five 10,100 TEU container ships to dual-fuel engines that can also run on methanol. The renovations are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2026, take up to 90 days and cost a good 110 million euros.