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.
The history of the privately owned Deutsche Afrika-Linien dates back to the year 1924 when the former Imperial Navy Officer, Commander John Theodor Essberger (1886-1959), established himself as a tanker shipowner in Hamburg/Germany.
In 1941 Essberger invested in the dry cargo market by taking over of the Deutsche Afrika-Linien (DAL), a liner company engaged in the Africa trade for decades.
After World War 2 the Essberger-fleet had vanished. But John T. Essberger soon managed to build up his company once again.
In 1959, after his death, his daughter Liselotte von Rantzau-Essberger (1918-1993) took over the helm of the group. Under her careful guidance, buoyed by the West German Wirtschaftswunder, the business experienced strong growth in the service to Africa and tanker shipping.
In the 1980s the third generation comprising Dr. Eberhart von Rantzau and Heinrich von Rantzau adapted the company to new requirements, to a time when liner services allied with international partner shipping lines could be further strengthened.
On 1 June 2022 the container liner business of Deutsche Afrika-Linien was sold to Hapag-Lloyd who fully integrated DAL’s liner services into their business.Durban Container Park
DAL invested in Durban Container Park which runs container operations in Capetown & Durban.
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.
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
Imperial Navy Officer (1886-1959), established himself as a tanker shipowner in Hamburg/Germany
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.
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.
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.