Goosebumps at the ceremonial christening of the new "Berlin Express"

She is christened! More than 300 guests celebrated the christening of the new "Berlin Express" at Hamburg's Burchardkai.

The largest ship under the German flag lay majestically and unmistakably on Athabaskakai in the middle of the Port of Hamburg. Many of the invited visitors took the launch, where they were able to get a picture of the giant vessel loaded with freshly cleaned Hapag-Lloyd containers from the water.

The christening took place in keeping with this year's German Unity Festival. The mood was as exuberant as it was celebratory. Hosted by the two Hapag-Lloyd trainees Celina Beth and Jorma Charles, who immediately melted the ice, Michael Behrendt, chairman of the supervisory board of Hapag-Lloyd AG, welcomed prominent guests from the worlds of politics and business. First and foremost were godmother Elke Büdenbender and Dr Peter Tschentscher, Hamburg's first mayor.

Hapag-Lloyd's home city showed itself from its most beautiful side at a late summer temperature of 22 degrees and sunshine. After speeches by HHLA boss Angela Titzrath, Hyek Woong Kwon, CEO of Hanwha Ocean Shipyard, and Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen, Peter Tschentscher took the floor, congratulated Hapag-Lloyd and emphasised the Hanseatic city's long-standing ties with the shipping line: "Both stand for tradition and innovation. The sustainable propulsion of the 'Berlin Express' is a milestone in modern merchant shipping and a promise for the future!"

Then Germany's First Lady and godmother Dr Elke Büdenbender, wife of the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, spoke knowledgeably and warmly about "her" ship: she was overwhelmed at first sight and very proud: "I have never christened a ship before - and who can say that they have such a great godchild that sails across all seas and opens up new horizons? The beginning to clean shipping has been made!" And as if she had never done anything else, she then set the christening mechanism in motion. The champagne hit the ship's hull as planned - confetti, ship's trumpet, national anthem, goose bumps! During the subsequent tour of the ship, the crew around Captain Metzner, who will steer the ship towards Ningbo in the next few days, and Captain Kowitz, who commissioned the Berlin Express in the summer, led a tour of the spick-and-span new ship up to the bridge, where countless guests were overwhelmed not only by the new technology but also by the fantastic view over the whole of Hamburg and the Elbe.

At just under 400 metres long, 61 metres wide and with a transport capacity of 23,660 TEU, the "Berlin Express" is the largest freighter ever to sail under the German flag. She is one of the twelve new ships of the "Hamburg Express" class and will sail the cargo-intensive Far East route between Asia and Europe.

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