Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd has appointed finance expert Philipp Alexander Joerss to head a newly formed division to manage its expanding asset base.

Joerss has been appointed to the newly created role of Head of Asset Management for the Hamburg-based company.

He will oversee a team to centrally manage assets, such as vessels and buildings, the company confirmed.

Joerss joined the liner giant this month after spending around 10 years with Erck Rickmers companies Nordcapital and ER Capital Holding, where he held similar responsibilities, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The new division is being established due to the increasing importance of sustainability and market conditions.

“The regulatory requirements are getting stricter, and the decarbonisation of our fleet will have a major impact on how we manage our asset portfolio,” a Hapag-Lloyd spokesman said.

Another reason was that “market conditions have changed”.

“In the past, Hapag-Lloyd wasn’t very involved in the market for used vessels. But that has changed now, which is why we need to position ourselves even better in this field,” he said.

Joerss hails from an old Hamburg family with interests in shipping and trading. His father is Hamburg grain trader Klaus Joerss and his uncle is New York dry cargo broker Detlef Joerss.

Growing asset base

The appointment comes with the German carrier continuing to grow through the purchase of vessels, liner companies and stakes in a handful of container terminals.

The world’s fifth largest liner company has projected Ebitda of $19.5bn to $21.5bn this financial year.

It has put some of those funds to good use with investments in liner operators Deutsche Afrika-Linien (DAL) and NileDutch, as well as stakes in container terminals in Egypt, Morocco and Germany.

The company has also been an active player in the secondhand market, although the pace of its acquisitions seems to have slowed this year.

However, it is still reaping the benefit of deals done last year before newbuild and secondhand prices rose sky high.

The company has recently taken delivery of the 13,278-teu neo-panamax Rio de Janeiro Express (built 2022) from South Korea’s Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI).

The vessel is also the first in a series six sisterships scheduled to join the German carrier over the coming ten months.

All six units were originally ordered by Capital Ship Management of Greece in 2020, but three have since been acquired and three taken on long-term charter by Hapag-Lloyd.

The liner company also acquired or chartered four similarly-sized units from China’s New Century Shipyard from Greek owner Chartworld.

Those vessels are slated for delivery in the second half of 2023 and in 2024.

The Rio de Janeiro Express is the first newbuild container ship delivered to Hapag-Lloyd since the 14,993-teu Al Jmeliyay (built 2017), according to Alphaliner.