Hamburg South

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Hamburg South American Steamship Company A / S & Co KG

legal form A / S & Co KG
founding November 4, 1871
Seat Hamburg , GermanyGermanyGermany 
management Arnt Vespermann, ( CEO )
Number of employees 6,301 (2016)
sales 5.637 billion euros (2016)
Branch Shipping company

In the foreground on the right the old administration building
Old administration building wooden bridge / Cremon

The Hamburg South American Steamship Company A / S & Co KG ( HSDG ), shortly Hamburg Süd , is a shipping company with headquarters in Hamburg . The company was founded in 1871 as a stock corporation by eleven Hamburg trading houses and belonged to the Oetker Group from 1955 . On December 1, 2016, the Oetker Group announced that it would part with its shipping business and sell Hamburg Süd with all its activities, subsidiaries and essential business assets to the Danish shipping company Mærsk Line . Hamburg Süd has been part of AP Møller-Mærsk since December 1, 2017 . The Hamburg Süd brand is to be retained.

In 2016, the company employed 6,301 people (of which 4,894 on land), operated 177 ships (of which 116 were  container ships ) and achieved an annual turnover of 5.637 billion euros.


Beginnings and time up to the First World War

Poster of the Hamburg-South American Steamship Company from 1914

The Hamburg- South American Steamship Company (HSDG) was founded in 1871 in the course of a capital increase as the successor to the Hamburg-Brazilian Steamship Company, which had existed since 1869. The initial share capital was 1.25 million thalers, 65.2% of which were brought to the stock exchange by the Commerz and Disconto Bank . Another 28.5% was brought in by the August Bolten shipping company and the Hamburg-Brazilian Steamship Company, the rest was taken over by various Hamburg companies. Heinrich Amsinck (1824–1883) became the company's first chairman .

The new shipping company took over the three ships of the Hamburg-Brazilian Steamship Company with a total of almost 4,000 gross registered tonnes (GRT) and bought another steamer. All four ships frequented the monthly liner service between Hamburg and Brazil and Argentina . From 1873 onwards, the first newbuildings came to the shipping company and in October 1873 the 2,247 GRT Valpareiso delivered by the Reiherstieg shipyard was the first ship built in Germany for the HSDG. The first German competitor in traffic to Brazil and Argentina was Norddeutsche Lloyd (NDL) from Bremen as early as 1875 , which at times even achieved a higher proportion of traffic.

In 1881 Heinrich Amsinck gave up the chairmanship of the administrative board for health reasons. He was succeeded by Ferdinand Laeisz (1801-1887), the well-known sailing ship owner, who handed over the chairmanship to his son Carl Laeisz (1828-1901) in 1885 . After the death of his brother Heinrich, Martin Garlieb Amsinck (1831–1905) represented the Amsinck family on the board of directors. By 1885 the shipping company's fleet had grown to 16 steamers with 30,000 GRT.

The Amazonas , delivered by Blohm & Voss for the Brazil service in October 1890, was the shipping company's first ship of over 3,000 GRT. The 4,000 GRT were reached in October 1895 with the Asuncion (4,663 GRT, Blohm & Voss), the lead ship of a series of eleven ships that were delivered by Blohm & Voss and the Reiherstieg shipyard until 1899. In 1900 ships with luxurious passenger facilities came into service with the HSDG for the first time with the first Cap steamers . The nine ships up to 1914, whose names began with Cap , were among the largest ships on the route to South America when they were commissioned. With their yellow chimneys, they also differed externally from the simpler HSDG ships. The Cap Verde , built in 1900 as the third Cap steamer by the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft , was the first newbuild to be delivered by a different German shipyard than the aforementioned Hamburg shipyards, which remained the main supplier of HSDG until 1914.

In 1900, the Hamburg-American Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft (Hapag) under Albert Ballin bought the 14 steamers from the shipping company AC de Freitas & Co. , previously a main competitor of HSDG. In order to avoid a price war with this powerful competitor, it was decided to set up a joint service between the two Hamburg shipping companies, with Hamburg-Süd accounting for two thirds and Hapag for one third.

In 1906 the age of the luxurious passenger steamers began with the steamers Cap Vilano and Cap Arcona (I) on the South American voyage , with Hapag having two more sister ships built. The first express steamer followed in 1911 with the Cap Finisterre (14,503 GRT, 16.5 kn) . In 1914, the Cap Trafalgar (18,710 GRT, 17 kn) came into service as the new flagship of the HSDG fleet .

In 1914 the shipping company had 56 ships with a total of 325,031 GRT. It was the fourth largest German shipping company after Hapag, NDL and DDG Hansa . The almost completed express steamer Cap Polonio , which was supposed to exceed 20,000 GRT for the first time, and three smaller freight steamers were under construction .

War effort

The first loss of a ship occurred on August 14, 1914, when the Santa Catharina (4,247 GRT, 1907) was captured by the British cruiser HMS Glasgow shortly before her destination on a voyage from New York to Santos . The British brought their booty to the Brazilian island of Abrolhos , which they used as a supply base. There the bunker coal of the Santa Catharina caught fire and after unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the fire, the Glasgow sank the German ship on the 20th.

The HSDG's flagship, the Cap Trafalgar , had reached Buenos Aires when the war broke out and was to be used as an auxiliary cruiser . She called at Montevideo on August 18 , took over coal there, and ran out again on August 23 to meet the gunboat Eber , who had come from Cape Town , which handed over its weapons and most of its crew to the express steamer August put into service as an auxiliary cruiser. After an unsuccessful first search voyage, the Cap Trafalgar was surprised by the British auxiliary cruiser Carmania at a meeting with German supply ships on September 14, 1914 near the Brazilian island of Trinidade , who sank the Cap Trafalgar .

On December 8, 1914, the British cruiser HMS Bristol sank the Santa Isabel (5,199 GRT, 1914) near the Falkland Islands , which had served as a supply for the small cruiser SMS Dresden and then the cruiser squadron since August .

The Dresden had already been supplied by the Corrientes (3,720 GRT, 1894), and the HSDG steamers Asuncion (4,663 GRT, 1895) and Rio Negro (4,613 GRT, 1905) served the SMS Karlsruhe as suppliers. The Rio Negro managed to bring the survivors of the Karlsruhe back home after their downfall. The arrival of the Asuncion with more than 400 prisoners from Karlsruhe to Belém led to a stronger control of the German ships in Brazil and the message to the embassy that further supplies of warships by the lay-up ships would not be tolerated.

At home, the Sao Paulo (4,724 GRT, 1896) used as a barrier breaker was lost on January 14, 1915 by a mine hit in the North Sea and in September / October 1915 the Entrerios (4,395 GRT, 1902), the Gutrune (3,039 GRT, 1906) and the Pernambuco (4,788 GRT, 1897) lost in ore transport from Luleå in Sweden to Germany, the latter two being sunk by the British submarine E 9 .

Portugal's entry into the war on the Entente side in 1916 led to the loss of four HSDG ships that had sought refuge there, that of Brazil in 1917 of fourteen ships and that of Uruguay of another HSDG steamer. The armistice and surrender conditions after the First World War then led to the total loss of the shipping company's fleet, as the ships interned in neutral countries had to be delivered.

Interwar period

After the First World War , the Hamburg Süd therefore no longer owned a single seagoing ship. Operations were initially resumed with chartered ships and liner shipping was redesigned. Six ships delivered were also bought back in 1921/1922. With the re-acquired Cap Polonio , the shipping company entered the cruise business in 1922 . After completing the first new build program with state funding, Hamburg-Süd had 17 ships with 129,447 GRT on January 1, 1924 and was still the fourth largest German shipping company. For the liner service and the cruise business, the five over 13,000 GRT motor ships of the Monte class , which came into service between 1924 and 1931, were of greatest importance. In 1927 the turbine-powered Cap Arcona  (II) was put into service as the new flagship of the shipping company's passenger fleet.

The attempts of North German Lloyd to gain a dominant influence on Hamburg-Süd failed, but in May 1931 the positions on the supervisory board of Hamburg-Süd merged with those of NDL and Hapag. Hamburg-Süd also had to hand over the Antonio Delfino and Cap Norte to North German Lloyd . The shipping company's independence seemed to be coming to an end.

In the Third Reich, however, the unbundling of the major German shipping companies, which had begun in the preceding economic crisis, when most of the German shipping companies became dependent on the state, was continued. Hapag and NDL had to largely forego their services to the east coast of South America, and a monopoly for the German lines was created for Hamburg-Süd to southern Brazil and La Plata. The major shipping companies also had to transfer most of their ships used in this area to Hamburg-Süd, which received fifteen ships from Hapag (of which the General Osorio was the largest and most modern) and ten from NDL, including a number of pre-war structures. The Antonio Delfino and the Cap Norte (which had since been renamed by the NDL) also returned to the service of the shipping company.

Before 1936 the shipping company had no refrigerated ships . From 1936, nine ships were converted for refrigerated cargo , all of which could transport frozen meat and some fruit. In 1936 the Oetker Group took a 25 percent stake in Hamburg Süd and Richard Kaselowsky became Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

In 1939 the shipping company owned 52 ships with a total of 402,732 GRT, the largest fleet in its history.

After the Second World War

The Oetker tanker Richard Kaselowsky in the port of Brevik (1960)
Ship meeting of the CCNI Arauco and Cap San Artemissio on the Elbe
Hamburg-Süd container

With the Second World War , the shipping company's fleet was lost again. In 1951 the liner service between Europe and the South American east coast was resumed. A year later, the company began tanker shipping and, in conjunction with Rudolf A. Oetker KG , expanded its refrigerated ship service capacities. In 1955 it was completely taken over by the Oetker Group.

In 1956, the takeover of the German Levante Line saw the entry into the Mediterranean voyage and in 1957 the start of liner service between North and South America under the name "Columbus Line". From 1963 the ships of the "Columbus Line" also operated between North America and Australia / New Zealand . Starting in 1971, the Columbus New Zealand class was the first container ship to operate between the US east coast and Australia / New Zealand. In 1980 the service between Europe and South America was added.

From 1986 the shipping company expanded its business considerably by taking over other shipping lines, starting with the takeover of the German Middle East Line . In 1989 a 50% stake in the Spanish shipping company Ybarra y Cia was acquired. Sudamérica SA (Ybarra Sud) (which was then completely taken over in February 2006), 1990 the takeover of the British Furness Withy Group , which u. a. Owner of the famous Royal Mail Line and the Pacific Steam Navigation Company (PSNCo) . In the same year the Swedish Laser Lines and the Dutch Rotterdam Zuid-America Lijn (RZAL) and Havenlijn were also acquired.

In 1998 the Brazilian Aliança and the South Seas Steamship were incorporated, in 1999 the South Pacific Container Lines and the Transroll's Europe-South America liner service . In 2000, Inter-America Services was acquired from Crowley American Transport (CAT) . This was followed in 2003 by the takeover of Ellerman Lines , which was active in the Mediterranean and India / Pakistan service, and the Asia-South America liner services of Kien Hung . In January 2004 the services of the "Columbus Line" and the Crowley American Transport were consolidated under the name Hamburg-Süd, as were those of the Ellerman Group in 2005 and those of Ybarra Sud in November 2006 . In 2006, the freight services between Australia / New Zealand and Asia and North America, combined under the name "FANZL Fesco Australia New Zealand Liner Services", were provided by Fesco Ocean Management Ltd. acquired (the FANZL brand was replaced by Hamburg Süd on January 1, 2008). In September 2006, the shipping company entered into a cooperation with Hapag-Lloyd , Hyundai Merchant Marine and Shandong Yantai International Marine Shipping Container Company in the Asia-Australia trade . On December 1, 2007, the liner activities of the Italian Costa Container Lines (CCL) were taken over .

Like almost all shipping companies, Hamburg Süd was also affected by the severe shipping crisis that broke out in mid-2008 . At the beginning of 2013, a merger with Hapag-Lloyd was therefore under discussion, which failed. On July 25, 2014, Hamburg Süd announced that it would take over the liner services and the agency network of the Chilean shipping company Compañía Chilena de Navegación Interoceánica (CCNI) under the existing brand name by the end of 2014. The takeover actually took place in March 2015.

Sale of the shipping company

A Hamburg Süd container ship passed the
Golden Gate Bridge in January 2017

On December 1, 2016, the Oetker Group announced that it would divest its shipping business and sell Hamburg Süd with all its activities, subsidiaries and essential business assets. On April 28, 2017, the shareholders and the advisory board of Dr. August Oetker KG the Dr. August Oetker KG and Maersk Line A / S approved the contract for the sale of Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG (Hamburg Süd) including all subsidiaries and the associated shipping companies. The contract required the approval of numerous antitrust authorities. Hamburg Süd has been part of AP Moller - Maersk since December 1, 2017 .

The ships, which previously sailed under the German, Singaporean, Liberian or Portuguese flag, were flagged out to Singapore , Great Britain and Denmark in 2018 .

Ship fleet


The Cap San Diego is a museum ship at the Überseebrücke in the port of Hamburg
The Monte Rosa is located on Burchardkai in the port of Hamburg
The Hamburg-Süd containers go around the world, here in the port of Hamburg ...
... and here on an Indian truck

In 2016, Hamburg Süd had 48 own and 68 chartered container ships with a total capacity of 590,000 TEU. In addition, 61 chartered tramp ships were operated (as of 2016).

The well-known museum ship Cap San Diego still exists today from the Cap San class , six structurally identical general cargo vessels that were built in the 1950s and early 1960s and whose names began with “Cap San” .

Container ships from 2001

In 2001 and 2002, Hamburg Süd had a new Cap-San class from Samsung H.Ind. build in South Korea. This involved a series of six container ships with 40,085 GT and 3,739 TEU each  . The old names were largely adopted, but Cap San Raphael was given instead of Cap San Diego . The Cap Jackson and the Cap Jervis were each threaded with 4,600 TEU in the liner service from Asia via Mexico to the West coast of South America.

Between May 2004 and June 2005 six identical 69,132 GT and 5,552 TEU container ships of the Monte class were launched. A second series of four Monte ships was delivered between November 2007 and March 2009. The first seven ships were built by Daewoo SB, Okpo in South Korea, the last three by Daewoo Mangalia in Romania.

In 2007, six Bahia- class ships were built at Daewoo in Okpo. With 3,752 TEU, these 34,500 GT ships offer roughly as much space as the ships of the Cap San class from 2001.

On March 17, 2008, the Rio de la Plata, the first of a total of six ships in the Rio class, was christened. The largest ship in the company's history at that time offers a slot capacity of 5,905 TEU at 73,899 GT. The first three ships were built at Daewoo in Okpo in South Korea, the last three at Daewoo in Romania.

In 2009, ten Santa class container ships, each with 7,100 TEU spaces, were ordered from Daewoo in Okpo, South Korea, for delivery from 2010 to 2012. They were delivered between October 2010 and June 2012.

In March 2011, six container ships of the third Cap-San class of 9600 TEU each were delivered to Hyundai H.Ind. ordered for delivery May 2013/2014. In addition, the option for a further four ships was also exercised.

In 2014, the three San- class ships built by Hyundai Heavy Industries were put into service.

Hamburg Süd currently operates four container ships of the Polar class, which has been delivered since 2017. The ships have a capacity of 3,800 TEU, have 870 reefer plugs and were built in China by Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding.

Humanitarian aid

As a global company, Hamburg Süd supports international aid organizations with the transport capacities of its ships. Relief supplies as well as technical or medical equipment reach people in need as quickly as possible and help to alleviate the worst need after natural disasters - for example in Haiti , Pakistan or Brazil .

Hamburg Süd has a longstanding relationship with the SOS Children's Villages , whose projects are funded in different countries. Social commitment also goes beyond humanitarian aid. Hamburg Süd supports various initiatives in the areas of education and culture, including the worldwide exhibitions of the United Buddy Bears .


  • Arnold Kludas : The ships of Hamburg-Süd 1871 to 1951, Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg 1976, ISBN 3-7979-1875-5
  • Arnold Kludas: The History of German Passenger Shipping 1850 to 1990 . Ernst-Kabel-Verlag, 1986.
  • Hartmut Rübner: Concentration and Crisis in German Shipping. Maritime economy and politics in the German Empire, in the Weimar Republic and in National Socialism . (= German maritime studies . Vol. 1). Hauschild, Bremen 2005, ISBN 3-89757-238-9 . (Also: Bremen, Univ., Diss., 2003)
  • Reinhardt Schmelzkopf: German merchant shipping 1919–1939 . Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg, ISBN 3-7979-1847-X
  • Hans Jürgen Witthöft : Hamburg South. An illustrated chronicle of the events . Koehler-Verlag, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7822-0993-9
  • Hamburg Süd defies the crisis . In: Deutsche Seeschifffahrt , Heft 5/2010, pp. 32–33, ISSN  0948-9002
  • Hanns-Stefan Grosch: "Completely unsatisfactory" . In: Deutsche Seeschifffahrt , Issue 5/2012, pp. 14-17.

Web links

Commons : Hamburg Süd  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Key figures of the Hamburg Süd Group ( memento from October 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 17, 2017
  2. Dr. August Oetker KG: Shipping . Archived from the original on April 11, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  3. Oetker Group separates from shipping division ( Memento from December 2, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Press release, December 1, 2016 (pdf)
  4. a b Valtech - Maersk Line obtains final regulatory approval and closes the acquisition of Hamburg Süd . ( [accessed November 30, 2017]). Maersk Line obtains final regulatory approval and closes the acquisition of Hamburg Süd ( Memento from December 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  6. melt head, p. 132ff.
  7. Kludas, Hamburg-Süd, pp. 10, 88f, 109ff., 116ff.
  8. Refrigerated cargo was only transported if the cold rooms and cooling machines had been certified by a classification society . Lloyd's Register certified cold rooms from 1896, Germanischer Lloyd from 1905. In the registers published annually you can see whether ships had received a cold room certificate.
  9. Peter Dittrich: 125 years of German refrigerated shipping. 1881-2006 . Monsenstein and Vannerdat, Münster 2009, ISBN 978-3-86582-928-3
  10. Eckhard-Herbert Arndt: The merger of Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg-Süd is a “good idea” . In: Daily port report from February 20, 2013, p. 1/2
  11. Hamburg Senate regrets the failed shipping company merger . In: Daily port report of March 26, 2013, p. 1/2.
  12. Markus Klausen: Hamburg Süd buys the Chilean shipping company CCNI. In: The Wall Street Journal , July 25, 2014.
  13. Press releases - Press | Dr. Oetker. Retrieved November 30, 2017 .
  14. Annual Report of the Oetker Group 2010 . Archived from the original on December 16, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  15. Press release April 2010, Hamburger Abendblatt
  16. Hamburg Süd Christens New Ship. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  17. Hamburg Süd supports children in Haiti ( Memento from November 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  18. ^ Hamburg Süd, partner of the United Buddy Bears in Rio de Janeiro, 2014