Our proud History
Deutsche Afrika-Linien

DAL Deutsche Afrika-Linien, a liner company engaged in the Africa trade for decades, was aquired by John T. Essberger in 1941 and remained part of the Deutsche Afrika-Linien / John T. Essberger Group.

On 1st of June 2022 the container liner business of Deutsche Afrika-Linien was sold to Hapag-Lloyd, who fully integrated it into their business. DAL remains invested in container depot operations in South Africa.

  • Deutsche Afrika Linien

    The Deutsche Afrika-Linien has a long and proud history dating back well over a hundred years. As early as 1895 its predecessor, the Deutsche Ost-Afrika Linie operated passenger and freight services between Hamburg and South/East Africa, whilst in the 21st Century the company's container ship 'DAL Kalahari' regularly plied the seas between Europe and Southern Africa.

  • Some images from our long history.

    Shown below are just a small collection of images from DAL's long history. For more images like these please visit our unique historic Picture Archive

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Commander John Theodor Essberger

Imperial Navy Officer (1886-1959), established himself as a tanker shipowner in Hamburg/Germany

6.600-TEU-Containerschiff „DAL-Kalahari“ bound for Cape Town

Cape Town - one of many Destinations called at by DAL Liner Services

Not only did DAL ship the very first car to South Africa, Daimler's „Benz Velo“ with 1,5 hp but many African animals for European Zoos.

Palmaille 45-49

DAL's headquarter is located in Palmaille 45-49 (Hamburg-Altona) overlooking the river Elbe. The ensemble of buildings, a classical 18th century palais accompanied by contemporary steel and glas architecture, reflects both historical and modern views.

Many classic paintings of DAL owned ships adorn the walls of our Palmaille Headquarters.

From Steam to Containers

For over 100 years the DAL Fleet has been at the forefront of technology, from the earliest steamships of the 19th and 20th Centuries through to massive container ships of the 21st Century.

Flying proudly across 3 centuries

From the 19th through to the 21st Century, the distinctive yellow, black, white and red colours of the DAL flag were to be found on ships plying the seas between Europe and Africa.