Hamburg is booming. The German Empire's growing export business is turning the Hanseatic city’s port into a hive of activity.
On 1 May, Arthur Hartrodt opens his shipping company a. hartrodt on Alter Wandrahm in the Speicherstadt district. The business is internationally oriented right from the start: subsidiaries in Antwerp and the first office in the Netherlands open shortly afterwards.
The barque “Gretchen Hartrodt” sets off on a long voyage to Melbourne, where it arrives 83 days later.
Offices open in London, Bremen and Buenos Aires; business relations are expanded to North America and Australia.
1912: The company celebrates its 25th anniversary. Authorised signatory Rudolph Thode becomes a partner in the company.
The first 25 years
Negotiations in North and South America
North and South America are brought closer: starting in 1914, Arthur Hartrodt expands the company's shipping services from Buenos Aires across the continent. The company becomes the leading provider of shipping services to Australia and South America, thereby taking the sound of Germany all over the world: one of its specialties is the export of German pianos. Robert Dundas-Smith relocates from the London office to Australia.
1920 Arthur Hartrodt returns to Germany.
1922: The company moves into new offices at Alstertor 1, Hamburg
a. hartrodt becomes the leading provider of shipping services to Australia and South America. Its speciality: exporting German pianos.
1936: Company founder Arthur Hartrodt dies in Santos, Brazil.
1937: Arthur Hartrodt’s son-in-law Dr. Wilhelm Wenzel and Rudolph Thode’s son-in-law Johannes Gröseling become partners.
Years of the war
The company is not spared the effects of World War II. However, dedicated staff make sure that a. hartrodt resumes business quickly after the war ends.
Expansion of airfreight business
Besides opening freight offices at several locations in Germany, the company expands its airfreight business, which is managed first from Hamburg and later from Frankfurt. a. hartrodt continues steadily expanding its network and strengthens its existing locations in South America and Australia.
Branch offices in South Africa and Japan
Dr. Wilhelm Wenzel leaves the company. Foundation of the company Hartrodt Argentinia SRL. First office opens in Johannesburg, South Africa, as the nucleus of what becomes hartrodt South Africa (Pty) Ltd. with another branch in Cape Town. Expansion of transit business with East European countries. First Asian branch opens in Tokyo.
The introduction of the container is a major innovation in the freight business, one which is immediately adopted by a. hartrodt. The company starts doing business with consolidated containers, focusing in particular on North America.
1971: a. hartrodt moves into new business premises at Högerdamm 35 in Hamburg, where the company still has its headquarters today.
1972: The general partnership (oHG) changes its legal form to that of a limited partnership and becomes a. hartrodt (GmbH & Co) KG. The general partner is the limited liability company a. hartrodt Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, while the limited partners are Konrad Wenzel, Joachim Siegfried van Tienhoven, Meta Hake and Andreas Wenzel.
Numerous branches established in Europe and overseas; introduction of electronic data processing.
1976: Joachim Braasch, the long-time head of a. hartrodt (Australia) Pty. Ltd., is appointed managing director.
Strong presence in boom regions
a. hartrodt expands. Besides expanding the existing locations, the company is now also turning its attention to China: new offices open in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Qingdao.
1983: The second Asian branch opens in Singapore
1985: Andreas Wenzel joins the management
1986: Jan van Tienhoven joins the company
1987: 100th anniversary; Konrad Wenzel dies aged 66
The globalisation proceeds
Company undergoes further globalisation, oriented on the niche market for overseas shipping; business relations with Asia and South America are intensified. Branches established in Korea and Peru, an airfreight office opens in Belgium together with offices in Beijing and Shanghai; number of employees worldwide: 862
Gerd Haase and Willem van der Schalk are appointed managing directors. Joachim Braasch retires. Subsidiaries founded in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
The globalisation proceeds
Presence in China and introduction of food & beverage logistics
2002: a. hartrodt hong kong limited founded in Hong Kong with additional branches in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Qingdao; company receives class A forwarder’s license granted to fully functional forwarding companies.
2005: a. hartrodt founds the company Food & Beverage Logistics (HK) Ltd. offering extensive services in the field of food transport..
2007: Subsidiary founded in India
2010: Regional directors introduced to guarantee smooth communication and maintain high standards within the group and among its 1,600 staff
Expansion in Asia
Next important anniversary
2012: 125th anniversary
2013: Gerd Haase retires. Andreas Schrön and Hendrik Khezri are appointed managing directors
2019: Thorsten Drunagel is appointed managing director