Under the banner of transport for 130 years

1887: Hamburg was booming. The rising export economy of the German Empire ensured there were full order books in the Hanseatic City and the city's port was a hive of activity. The proudest expression of this economic upsurge was the newly constructed warehouse district, the Speicherstadt - even today the largest interconnected warehouse complex in the world. It is here that Arthur Hartrodt founded his freight-forwarding business, a. hartrodt, on 1st May 1887 in the Alter Wandrahm area.

The business was focused internationally from the very beginning: a subsidiary in Antwerp and the first branch office in the Netherlands were opened shortly after the founding of the company. Worldwide trade was also in the sights of a. hartrodt from an early stage: in 1907 the barque "Gretchen Hartrodt“ set out on the long journey to Melbourne, which it reached after a voyage of 83 days. In addition to Australia, prospects in North and South America also beckoned: from 1914 onwards from his base in Buenos Aires, Arthur Hartrodt expanded the traffic routes to the  South American continent. The company developed into the leading freight forwarder to Australia and South America, taking German influence to all corners of the world: a particular speciality was the export of German pianos.  

The 1930s brought profound changes: in 1936 the company founder  Arthur Hartrodt died and when the Second World War broke out three years later, the company was not spared from the impact of the conflict. It was only due to the efforts of dedicated employees, that the post war company was able to rise again quickly. As well as founding freight depots in several locations in Germany, the company also extended its air freight business, which was controlled initially from Hamburg and then later from Frankfurt.

In addition to strengthening its existing locations in South America and Australia, the network of a. hartrodt was systematically extended elsewhere: the first office in South Africa was added in 1969 and the growing significance of transport to Eastern Europe was also recognised at an early stage by a. hartrodt. When the office in Tokyo was opened, Asia joined the continents represented on the company's map.

The 1970s brought a significant revival in the freight business with the introduction of containers and a. hartrodt immediately participated in the boom. In 1971 the company moved to its new business premises at 35 Högerdamm, Hamburg where it has its headquarters to this day.

The following years were characterised by expansion. In addition to  development  of the existing locations, China also became a new destination for the company's focus: Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Qingdao became new locations. Through the founding of food & beverage logistics (HK) Ltd, a. hartrodt was also able to offer, from 2005 onwards, an extensive range of food and beverage transport services to this region.

Today there is a personal contact for a. hartrodt in virtually every corner of the globe. The company's 2,000 employees provide optimum transport solutions worldwide which go far beyond sea and air freight: from courier dispatch to shipment of complete turnkey projects, a. hartrodt has the right solution for almost every logistics requirement. 

1. May 1887

Arthur Hartrodt founds the freight-forwarding business, a. hartrodt, in the Alter Wandrahm area of Hamburg.




Founding of a subsidiary in Antwerp and the opening of the first branch office in the Netherlands.




First sailing of the barque "Gretchen Hartrodt" to Melbourne. Transit time - 83 days.




Opening of the office in London, together with Bremen and Buenos Aires.Expansion of the business links with North America and Australia.




25 year anniversary of the company.
Attorney Rudolph Thode becomes a partner in the company.


Arthur Hartrodt expands the South American traffic routes from his base in Buenos Aires. Robert Dundas-Smith moves from the London office to Australia.


Return of Arthur Hartrodt to Germany.


Move to the new offices at Alstertor 1, Hamburg.


a. hartrodt becomes the leading freight forwarder for traffic to South. America and Australia. Particular speciality: export of German pianos.


Arthur Hartrodt dies in Santos, Brazil.


Arthur Hartrodt's son-in-law, Dr. Wilhelm Wenzel and Rudolph Thodes's son-in-law, Johannes Gröseling, become co-owners.


Company registration of  a. hartrodt (Australia) in Sydney.



Opening of offices in Rotterdam and Genoa.



Development of the air freight business with central control in  Hamburg and then later in Frankfurt.



Founding of airfreight depots in Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Munich and Saarbrücken.


Konrad Wenzel becomes a partner. 


First branch office in Melbourne, followed by Fremantle, Brisbane and Adelaide.


Siegfried van Tienhoven becomes a partner.



Rudolph Thode retires from the company


Dr. Wilhelm Wenzel enters retirement 

Founding of a. hartrodt Argentina SRL 

Opening of the first office in Africa, with Johannesburg as the core of the future a. hartrodt South Africa (Pty) Ltd and with a further subsidiary in Cape Town

Development of traffic routes to Eastern European countries


Opening of the first office in Asia: Tokyo


 Introduction of containers to sea traffic





a. hartrodt enters the consolidated container business, particularly to North America


Purchase of the building at 35 Högerdamm and the move into the new business premises


Change of the partnership status of the company to a. hartrodt (GmbH & Co) KG, with a. hartrodt management company ltd as the shareholder and the following limited partners: Konrad Wenzel, Joachim Siegfried van Tienhoven, Meta Hake and Arthur Wenzel. 

Founding of many subsidiaries in Europe and overseas

Introduction of EDP


Joachim Braasch, Managing Director for many years of a. hartrodt (Australia) Pty. Ltd, is appointed as a company Managing Director  


Singapore as the second subsidiary in Asia


Appointment of Andreas Wenzel to the Management Board


Jan van Tienhoven takes up a position in the company


Company's 100th anniversary

Konrad Wenzel dies at the age of 66

1990 to 2000

Further globalisation of the company and focus on overseas freight forwarding

Intensification of business relations with Asia and South America

1990 to 2000


Founding of subsidiaries in Korea and Peru, as well as an air freight depot in Belgium and offices in Beijing and Shanghai

Number of employees worldwide: 862




Gerd Haase and Willem van der Schalk are appointed as company Managing Directors

Joachim Braasch retires from the company

Founding of subsidiaries in the Czech Republic and Hungary


Founding of a. hartrodt (hong kong) limited, with further subsidiaries in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Qingdao, with Class A  freight-forwarding licence for the full range of freight-forwarding services


Founding of Food & Beverage Logistics (HK) Ltd.


Founding of the Indian subsidiary


Introduction of Regional Directors to ensure smooth communication between the Group’s 1,700 employees and to maintain the Company’s high standards throughout 


Company’s 125th anniversary


Gerd Haase retires from the company. Andreas Schrön and Hendrik Khezri are appointed as  Managing Directors.