Historic container shipment

Our History

More than 130 years of dedication to transport

1887

Company foundation

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.

1887 Certificate of foundation – Thumbnail
1887 Certificate of foundation
1907 - 1912

Expanding

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.

Small 1907 Bark Gretchen Hartrodt at port – Thumbnail
Small 1907 Bark Gretchen Hartrodt at port
1914 - 1920

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.

1920 Rueckkehr – Thumbnail
1920 Rueckkehr
1922 - 1937

Changes

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.

1922 Alstertor – Thumbnail
1922 Alstertor
1939 - 1945

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.

HH 1945 – Thumbnail
HH 1945
1950s and 1960s

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.

1958 Sydney – Thumbnail
1958 Sydney
1969

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.

Office JOB – Thumbnail
Office JOB
1970s

Technical innovations

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.

1971 Hoegerdamm – Thumbnail
1971 Hoegerdamm
1980s and 1990s

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

1983 Singapore – Thumbnail
1983 Singapore
1990 to 2000

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.

World map – Thumbnail
World map
2002 - 2010

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

2005 Food beverage – Thumbnail
2005 Food beverage

Expansion in Asia

Branch offices in Hong Kong and India
2002 Class A Licence – Thumbnail
2002 Class A Licence

Class A forwarder’s license

2005 Food beverage – Thumbnail
2005 Food beverage

Foundation of food & beverage logistics

2007 India – Thumbnail
2007 India

Showing presence in South East Asia: Subsidiary founded in India

2010 New structure – Thumbnail
2010 New structure

New regional structures

2012 -2019

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

2012 125th anniversary – Thumbnail
2012 125th anniversary