Around 250 guests looked on as the “Santos Express” was christened on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 in the Brazilian city of Santos, home to the largest port in South America. After five blows by naming patron Carolina Valle de Andrade Faria, a bottle of champagne shattered on the side of the ship, which let out a piercingly sharp horn blast at the same time. With this ceremony, the fifth and final vessel of the “Valparaíso Express” class with 10,500 TEU was successfully christened.
In his speech, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Anthony J. Firmin alluded to Brazil’s great significance to the company. “For us, Brazil is the most important market in Latin America – and Hapag-Lloyd feels especially tied and indebted to it,” he said. “We Germans sometimes envy you for your country,” he continued. “Brazil has around 7,000 kilometers of coastline, fantastic weather, extensive natural resources, great meat and excellent coffee – and you have Neymar, who might just make our national football squad sweat a bit during the upcoming 2018 World Cup.”
Juan-Pablo Richards, Managing Director Area Brazil, warmly thanked the naming patron and her husband, Pedro de Andrade Faria, Global CEO of the food company BRF, for agreeing to serve as the ship’s patron. “BRF is our biggest customer in Brazil – and we transport your food across the world in our refrigerated containers,” he said. “Thank you for the faith you have in our company.” Andrés Kulka, Managing Director Region Latin America, also thanked all the Brazilian customers attending the ceremony, adding: “With the merger of Hapag-Lloyd and UASC, we can now offer you even better connections and a comprehensive network.”
Once the official ceremony was over, guests had an opportunity to board the “Santos Express” and take a look for themselves at the 333-meter-long and 48.5-meter-wide vessel, which will sail in the ASE2 service. On Wednesday evening, the ship will set sail for Asia.
Incidentally, the “Santos Express” is the only ship in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet that is permanently outfitted with a piano. Why’s that? Well, Captain André Czarnotta is a passionate pianist and jazz musician, and he likes to spend the little free time he has playing music in the officers’ mess. After the ceremony, he even gave the naming patron a brief taste of his impressive abilities.