Ernst Russ (shipowner)

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Ernst Günther Russ , (* December 4, 1867 , † November 18, 1957 ) was a German shipowner and founder of the Ernst Russ Reederei .



Martha Russ was built in 1899 under her later name Nina

Russ came to Hamburg in 1869 after an apprenticeship in Flensburg . He set up a freight department in the Hamburg forwarding company of Essen & Jacoby and after a short time received individual power of attorney . 1892 Ernst Russ owns the 665- BRT - steamer Falcon . The ship was lost a year later. In that year 1893 Ernst Russ went into business for himself and was entered in the Hamburg commercial register as "Ernst Russ Ship Broker" . The initial basis of his company was the representation of the Flensburg-Stettiner Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft , which operated a liner service from Hamburg to Finland . The agency developed rapidly after the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal was opened in 1895, and Russ became an agent for other routes on the Baltic Sea.

Ernst Russ married in 1898 and their daughter Tilly was the only child of the Russ couple in 1899. In that year Russ opened a shipping department and bought the freight steamer Secunda (639 GRT) built in 1870 on the account of a partner shipping company . In 1899 he received the new Martha Russ building from the Rostocker Werft AG Neptun with 2,009 GRT. More cargo steamers followed and in 1914 16 ships sailed under the flag of Ernst Russ. Four steamers were lost and two ships were sent to the victors of the First World War to be delivered.

Time after the First World War

E. Russ, built in Stettin in 1919

The 787 BRT steamer Sylt was the first post-war entry in 1919 and number 19 in the list of ships of the Russ shipping company. The E. Russ was the type ship of a series of a total of seven freight steamers with 1,000 GRT (1,535 tdw ) from the Stettiner Oderwerke . These ships intended for the Baltic Sea were delivered until 1922. This was followed by a series of three, also from the Stettiner Oderwerke, which were measured at 1,175 GRT and could carry 2,000 tdw.

Since 1922 Ernst Russ was supported in the management by his son-in-law Paul Lorenz-Meyer . From 1926 he took on his brother Christian Wilhelm Russ as a partner, who had gone to sea with the Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft after completing a shipyard apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer . He took over the technical support of the ship fleet. In 1933 Dr. Riensberg partner, who had worked as in-house counsel at Ernst Russ since 1923 . Riensberg expanded the agency into one of the largest Hamburg liner agencies.

In 1934, Hapag acquired the Svenska Line with four freighters sailing under the Swedish flag, which were sold on shortly afterwards. Ernst Russ took over the Hamburg-Rhein line with five ships from Hapag . With the Düsseldorf as the type ship, four newbuildings as motor ships for this Rhine-Sea service came from the Flender works . They were measured at 1,250 GRT, carried 1,400 dwt and had folding masts and low superstructures. In 1935 the agency of the German Levante Line was taken over, which also made the Mediterranean a catchment area for ships flying the Russian flag.

In 1937 and 1938 a new building with 2,957 GRT and 4,200 tdw each came from the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft , which was particularly suitable for the logging. To drive them, they were equipped with triple expansion machines and exhaust steam turbines with a nominal output of 2,000 PSi , which were manufactured by the shipyard. From 1939 the trip to Finland was carried out together with HM Gehrkens and the Finnish shipowner Antti Wihuri. Other plans, such as the entry into tanker shipping, a 15,000 tdw tanker was ordered from the Deutsche Werft, fell victim to the beginning of the war.

When the Second World War broke out , 37 freighters were flying the Russian flag, 14 of which were sunk or lost. 20 ships had to be delivered. Of the remaining ones, the Christian Russ, built in 1907, sank in the Port of Hamburg. The sister company Helene Russ (1) and the motor freighter Norderney remained with the shipping company.

Third establishment of the shipping company

At the age of 78, Ernst Russ started the reconstruction for the third time, supported by his employees. In 1949 the cargo steamer Gisela Russ , built in 1919 as Zarembo , with 5,720 GRT and 7,632 tdw, was taken over as the first purchase ship after the war and the shipping company's 61st ship. However, after three years it was sold to Walter Ritscher in Harburg for demolition.

The first new builds after the war in 1950/51 were so-called Potsdam ships with 1,480 GRT, 2,830 tdw and a 1,200 PSi double compound machine with an exhaust turbine. The newbuildings Martha Russ (3) and Tilly Russ (2) came from the Flender shipyard and the E. Russ (3) from Hamburg's Howaldtswerke . Reinhart Lorenz Russ also came from the Flender shipyard in 1951 and the Sparrenberg Castle (4,142 GRT, 7,200 tdw) from the Deutsche Werft , which was later managed by Rudolf A. Oetker as the correspondent owner. The sister ship Anita was also delivered to Ernst Russ by Deutsche Werft in 1953 . The model ship of this successful series was the Vulkan , which was delivered to the Komrowski shipping company in 1952 .

Another eleven ships followed, until 1953 with the Ernst G. Russ the tanker shipping that had been planned before the war could be started. It was the second ship in a successful series of the Deutsche Werft of a total of eleven ships with 12,880 GRT and 18,300 tdw. With 7,200 hp, the motor tanker ran the nominal speed of 15.8 knots . The tanker Julius Schindler, managed by Ernst Russ for the re-established tank shipping company Julius Schindler, was the last ship in this series. In 1955 the shipping company received the motor freighter Wolfgang Russ (2,963 GRT, 5,330 tdw) from the Flender shipyard and in 1957 from the Nobiskrug shipyard with Nanni Russ and Helga Russ (1,373 GRT, 2,200 tdw) two freighters for the trip to Finland. The motor freighters Christian Russ from Flender and Johannes Russ (10,060 GRT, 15,000 tdw) from Deutsche Werft were significantly larger . They were used to transport cars. Ernst Russ lived to see the delivery of the first of these very large intermediate deck freighters on September 18, 1957; he died on November 18, 1957, a few days before his 90th birthday, leaving his successors with a prosperous shipping company.

Ernst Russ today

In 2016 HCI Capital took over the Hamburg-based Ernst Russ Reederei and the majority of the shares in the issuing house König & Cie . In June 2016, the company HCI Capital decided to change its name to Ernst Russ AG . With the entry on July 25, 2016, the name change was completed and Ernst Russ AG, formerly HCI Capital AG, is now a bank-independent, listed financial services company specializing in asset management and investment management in the maritime industry. The company has locations in Hamburg, Bremen and Düsseldorf .


  • Shipping electronics by Manfred Klevenkorn and Robert Lorenz-Meyer: ER Ernst Russ GMBH & Co. Hamburg 1893 1993.
  • German shipping companies Volume 1: Ernst Russ Hamburg, founded in 1893; Publisher Gert Uwe Detlefsen.

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