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Hamburg Süd (German Shipping Company)

Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft

Last modified: 2013-04-05 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: hamburg suedamerikanische dampfschifffahrtsges | hamburg sued | columbus line | hsdg | atlas levante | atlas livestock carrier | new zealand europe | deutsche levante | deutsche nah-ost | oetker r.a. | hanseatische hafen |
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[Columbus Line / HSDG houseflag] image by Jorge Candeias, 27 Dec 2004 See also:


Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts Gesellschaft (Eggert & Amsinck), or simply HaSü or HaSüd or Hamburg Süd

Brief history:
The company was established in 1871 by representatives of 11 important Hamburgian merchant companies. On 29 November 1871 the company enrolled into the register of commerce. Chairman is Heinrich Amsinck, the grandson of the mayor, representing the company Schuback & Söhne.
The company runs shipping lines from Hamburg to Rio de Janeiro, Santos and Bahia, added in 1872 by a line to Southern Brazil and the La Plata region. The first direct line to the La Plata was established in 1878. Antonio Delfiono becomes representative of the company in Buenos Aires in 1894. Since then the La Plata line is more important. In 1896 Theodor Amsinck becomes director of the company. He causes the building opf new steamships of CAP class. Theodor Amsinck will be the one, who will determine the outlines of the company's politics within the next 50 years. In 1900 the company opens a line to the Eastern Mediterranian Sea, the so called Levante, but the line is closed again a little bit later. Together with HAPAG the company overtakes a line to Brazil via New York and New Orleans from Hamburger Dampfer Reederei Union in 1906, in 1912 HAPAG withdraws from the line. At the beginning of WW1 the company has 50 ships. All ships mooring abroad are confiscated one by one. In 1919 according to the treaty of Versailles the rest of the fleet has to be delivered.
In 1920 the company re-opens the lines by chartered ships, among those some minor sailing ships. In 1922 the cruise line business is opened by a journey to Tierra del Fuego of the famous ship CAP POLONIO. The CAP ARCONA was said to be the most beautiful ship of the era. In 1934 Herbert Amsinck follows his father Theodor Amsinck as a member of the board.
In 1936 the company Dr. August Oetker(Bielefeld) becomes partner of Hamburg-Süd. Though in 1939 the company has the biggest fleet of its history, the outbreak of WW2 ends this splendid era. In 1942 Rudolf August Oetker, the grandson of Dr. August Oetker, becomes member of the board. At the end of WW2 all ships got lost or had to be delivered as reparations.
In 1950 the company's form was changed into the legal form of an oHG, general managers were Herbert Amsinck and John Eggert. In 1952 the activities were extended to the tramp section. Tanker shipping and refrigerator shipping is done by Rudolf August Oetker KG (RAO).
In 1955 Eggert and Amsinck leave the company. They are replaced by Oetker who acquires the rest of the shares of the company. 1956 the company overtakes Bock & Godeffroy, better known as Deutsche Levante Linie (DLL).For further information about click here (in German).
In 1957 the lines to South America are reopened, named Columbus Line, which had no different flag. Lines to North America (Hamburg-Chicago Linie), Australia and new Zealand are added in 1962.
Hamburg Süd again begins its own tanker shipping and refrigerator shipping.
In 1967 the Atlas Levante Linie(ALL) was acquired from ARGO Reederei. ALL and DLL were incorporated into Deutsche Nahost Linie(DNOL) in 1973. In 1975 a container line to the South Pacific is established, named New Zealand Europe Line (NZEL). In 1976 Atlas Livestock Carrier (ALC) is established but closed after only one cruise of the only ship. In 1980 the first ships of the MONTE class are beginning their service. In 1981 the company is changed into the legal form of a a KG. In 1986 DNOL was overtaken completely.
In the following years Hamburg Süd acquires several shipping companies, among those the Rotterdam Zuid America Lijn (RZAL) and Furness Withy Group in 1990, Laser Lines A/B (Stockholm) in 1991 and Aliança Navegação y Logistica Ltda.(Rio de Janeiro/Botafago), which keeps its own house flag, in 1998. In 2000 the Interamerica service of Crowley American Transport (CAT) was acquired, in 2003 Ellermann and Kien Hung. In 2004 CAT and Columbus Line became Hamburg Süd, Ellermann followed in 2005.
Klaus-Peter Bühne; translated and trimmed by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Apr 2009

Hamburg Süd companies

Hamburg Süd plain flag

[HSDG dotted houseflag] image by Jorge Candeias, 2 Feb 1999 Quartered per saltire in white and red.
Jorge Candeias, 2 Feb 1999

Red and white are the Hanseatic colours and also those of Hamburg. Compare with Columbus Line house flag.
Santiago Dotor, 10 May 2005

The background of this flag has been commented on under Columbus Line, i.e. it appears as a logo on the Hamburg-Süd site and may exist as a group flag. However the Hamburg-Süd shipping company has its own flag which is confirmed by a photo also appearing on this site, which has the black letters "HSDG" in the respective quarters (see below). This company originated in 1871 as the Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft, [Hamburg South American Steam Packet Co.] changing 1952 to its current name of Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Ges. Eggert u. Amsinck. In 1973 it amalgamated with Dr. August Oetker Schiffahrts und Beteiligungs GmbH though retaining its name, the Dr. August Oetker company having taken control of Hamburg-Süd in 1952 after originally obtaining an interest in 1934 and today the company is a subsidiary of Rudolf A. Oetker with most of its fleet now listed under the associate Columbus Shipmanagement GmbH. The group has used Hamburg-Süd as a brand name, originally for sections of its businesss but from 1Jan 2004 this includes areas formerly under the Columbus and Crowley American Transport brands though the Aliança and Ellerman brand names also continue to be used.
Neale Rosanoski, 18 Oct 2004

( there is no evidence that this flag existed, but it is in Hamburg very wellknown, because it is the image on any container of Hasüd, on letters and other publications of the company, so I would prefer to call it a "logo flag" , see also comments below// editorial note, Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 May 2012)

Hamburg Süd dotted

[HSDG dotted houseflag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Sep 2008

Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft
Description of flag:
The flag is divided per saltire into red (hoist and fly) and white(top and bottom). In each quarter are dotted, bold, black capitals as follows: "H."(top), "S."(hoist), "D."(fly) and "G."(bottom)
Source: My image is based on a poster dated before 1914. The poster is displayed in: Carsten Prange: "Auf zur Reise durch Hamburgs Geschichte – A journey through Hamburg's history", Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-920384-35-0, p.121.
There is also an image of  that flag in Lloyds flags and funnels, 1912. The flag is displayed on p.39 with flag- no.59. The funnel is black. There is another flag on p.92 with flag-no.1156. The funnel is yellow and the characters are not as bold as in no.59. So for me it seems to be more or less the same flag. So this flag can be dated from 1912.
Note: On p.120 of PRANGE there is another poster of Hamburg-Süd with undotted characters. The poster also says that the Brazil line of Hamburg Süd was run together with A.C. de Freitas & Co.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Sep 2008

I think the question here is "fact or artistic licence".  For what it is worth, of the flag livery books I have only found dots shown by Lloyds 1904 and 1912 editions with everyone else, which includes Griffin 1895 and Reed 1901, not doing so. Arnold Kludas in his "Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt 1850-1990" does not help as he too shows both versions, with dots on a flag drawing for comments on the start of the company, and also showing on an 1890 advertising poster and a 1920 postcard,  but no dots on an 1897 menu, all these being illustrated. Although he gives dates for the changing of the funnel colours he does not mention any changes to a flag. So, maybe there was a flag with dots after the letters but all we can be sure of is that photos show there are none now.
Neale Rosanoski, 1 Jul 2010

I must confess, the dotted version has been taken from a poster. It can also be found on some old postcards. I have however no proof for the existence of a real flag. It is just reporting a source.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 2 Jul 2010

According to Lloyds 1912 the older vessels having a black funnel (p.39, flag no.59) used the flag with dotted initials, the new vessels of CAP-class having a yellow funnel (p.92 ,no.1156) perhaps used the flag with undotted initials, akthough within source two initials are dotted, two are undotted. But the undotted version, also the current one, might be newer.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 May 2012

Hamburg Süd Key Flag

[HSDG key flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 May 2012

An upright black key of Bremen was added to the "logo flag" for a while for those ships, that had been overtaken from HAPAG-Lloyd
Source: Hans Jürgen Witthöft: "Hamburg-Süd - Eine illustrierte Chronik der Ereignisse"
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 May 2012


[HSDG Hamburg-Chicago-Linie] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 May 2012

A white lozenge fimbriated black with a black inscription "HCL" was superimposed onto the "logo flag".
Source: Hans Jürgen Witthöft: "Hamburg-Süd - Eine illustrierte Chronik der Ereignisse"
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 May 2012

Atlas Livestock Carrier

[Atlas Livestock Carrier] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 2 Jul 2010

Atlas Livestock Carrier
The flag is divided per saltire into red (hoist and fly) and white (top and bottom). In its centre is a white disc, fimbriated black, containing black capitals "ALC", the "L" has double height.
Source: Klaus-Peter Bühne's webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Apr 2009

Columbus Line

[Columbus Line / HSDG houseflag] image by Jorge Candeias, 27 Dec 2004

Columbus Line. If this company is meant to be Columbus Linie of  Hamburg it was an associate of Hamburg- Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft Eggert & Amsinck  and according to Loughran 1979 it used the Hamburg-Süd flag which bears the black letters "HSDG" in the respective quarters starting from the top. Hamburg-Süd is now part of the Rudolf A. Oetker group and whilst still operating in its own right, its previous fleet with names beginning with "Columbus", "Cap", "Santa" and "Polar" are shown under the associate company Columbus Shipmangement GmbH of Hamburg. This happened in 1998 with the formation of the latter and this flag could be theirs but as there is no date shown for the FOTW image one is left wondering.
Neale Rosanoski, 3 Jan 2003

Columbus Lines.
The Columbus name was basically a trade name for Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft Eggert & Amsinck becoming associated with their container trade commencing 1963 in relation to the North American to Australia/New Zealand trade. As from 1 Jan 2004 this trade name was dropped in favour of the Hamburg-Süd brand name which is used by the Group although the name continues with the subsidiary Columbus Shipmanagement GmbH formed 1998. According to Loughran 1979 Columbus Linie used the Hamburg-Süd flag which is the flag shown with the addition of the black letters "HSDG". The version here (somewhat faded in colour and identical with that shown for Hamburg-Süd) appears as a logo on the Hamburg-Süd site  but whether it is used as an actual flag is unclear whereas the "HSDG" version is shown as an actual flag.
Neale Rosanoski, 13 Oct 2004

The flag drawn by Thanh-Tam Le might be around somewhere in this world but has nothing to do with Columbus Line or HSDG. (I sailed with Columbus Line and Hamburg-Sued from 1961-66 as a deck officer.). Columbus Line came into being in 1957 when HSDG reactivated a pre-war liner service linking the US and Canada with Brazil and the River Plate, then followed up with a service from the West Coast of North America to Australia and New Zealand. At all times the house flag was the same as those flown on HSDG vessels, with those four letters in the red and white triangles. The logo without letters exists just on Hamburg-Süd stationery and the firm's Hamburg postage meter.
Wolf Spille, 27 Nov 2006 (image as drawn by Thanh-Tâm Lê, 16 May 1999, removed, based on this comment)

Columbus Line. Originally the flag shown was a plain diagonally quartered white and red version by Thanh-Tâm Lê 16 May 1999 exactly the same as was shown under the heading "Hamburg Süd" which comes after the introduction with that image having been made by Jorge Candeias, 2 Feb 1999 [his written description is still there with the image having been removed presumably as a result of my comments]. Here the original image has been replaced by a HSDG version which is fine but rather takes some sense out of the comments made by myself and Wolf Spille. A comment that the current image replaced an earlier plain version which had been taken from the group brand as a possible flag, would help make sense for anyone now reading our comments.
Neale Rosanoski, 1 Jul 2010

New Zealand Europe Line

[New Zealand Europe Line] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Apr 2009

Flag of New Zealand Europe Line
The flag is divided per saltire into red(hoist and fly) and white(top and bottom) having black capitals in either quarter as follows: "N" (top), "Z" (hoist), "E" (fly) and "L" (bottom).
Source: Klaus-Peter Bühne's webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Apr 2009

Hamburg Süd lines of the Levante trade

Atlas Levante Linie

[Atlas Levante Linie (disc)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 2 Jul 2010
[Atlas Levante Linie (oval)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 May 2012

Flags of Atlas Levante Linie
The flags are divided per saltire into red (hoist and fly) and white (top and bottom). In there centres is a white oval (left image) resp. disc(left image) , fimbriated black, containing black, serifed capitals "A" over "LL".
Klaus-Peter Bühne's webpage (left)
Hans Jürgen Witthöft: "Hamburg-Süd - Eine illustrierte Chronik der Ereignisse"(right)
Josef Nüsse's webpage(right)
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Apr 2009

Deutsche Levante-Linie

[Deutsche Levante-Linie (oval)]
image by James Dignan, 13 Oct 2003
[Deutsche Levante-Linie (disc)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 May 2012

Image from "The dumpy book of ships and the sea" (ed. Henry Sampson, published by Sampson Low, London, circa 1957)., captioned: Deutsche Levant-Linie.
James Dignan, 13 Oct 2003

A black disc (left) resp. oval (right) with a white inscription "D" over "LL" was superimposed onto the "logo flag". Ran the service from Germany to Continental Ports, Mediterranean and Black Sea.
"The dumpy book of ships and the sea" (ed. Henry Sampson, published by Sampson Low, London, circa 1957)., captioned: Deutsche Levant-Linie (left)
"Gratis Beilage zu Deicken und Behrmann's Neuen Monatsheften Neue Ausgabe Sommer 1897"
Jarig Bakker, 13 Oct 2003

Deutsche Nah-Ost Linie

[Deutsche Nah-Ost Linie] image by Jarig Bakker, 4 Sep 2005

Deutsche Nah-Ost Linie, Hamburg -
white flag, the firm's logo.
Image after Brown's Flags and Funnels Shipping Companies of the World, compiled by J.L. Loughran, Glasgow, 1995 [lgr95]
Jarig Bakker, 4 Sep 2005

Deutsche Nah-Ost-Linie (1963-1999)
Brief history:
In 1962 Nah-Ost-Gemeinschaft (NOG) was established by ARGO Nah-Ost-Linie, Deutsche Orient-Linie (Schuldt) and A/B Transmarin in order to save costs in the middle-east-shipping business. But celebrating the 10th anniversary in 1972 the fellowship faced a new crisis due to increasing costs for salaries and fuel.
The Oetker group, also involved in middle-east-business tried to cause disharmony in the NOG and made therefore a special offer to Max Adler, manager of ARGO: Oetker offered to charter part of the fleet of ARGO and to withdraw from middle-east business for five years. Those plans were however refused by ARGO and an NOG-Schiffahrts GmbH was established by the fellowship. Nevertheless in the same year there were negotiations between Adler and Oetker, because both parties felt being ruined by the competition. So NOG was liquidated and Deutsche Nah-Ost-Linien GmbH (DNOL) was established on 1 April 1973.
Oetker held 100% of DNOL in 1986, for the other partners had sold their shares to Hamburg-Süd, belonging to Oetker group, between 1984 and 1986. DNOL was completely incorporated to Hamburg-Süd with all its agents and employees on 1 July 1999.
Klaus-Peter Bühne, translated by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 Apr 2009

Rudolf August Oetker Schiffahrts- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft

Rudolf August Oetker KG

[Rudolf August Oetker KG (RAO)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2007

Rudolf August Oetker KG is not a special shipping company but the holding that controls besides others e.g. the Hamburg-Süd-Allianca shipping company. The company is located in Hamburg Pelzerstraße 9-13.
The houseflag is hoisted together with those of Hamburg-Süd and Allianca (version 1993). The Hamburg-Süd-Allianca seems to have no flag of its own.
Oetker, the founder of the company began in 19th century as a chemist in Bielefeld (Westphalia). I believe that he invented baking-powder. Afterwards he made big business with puddings. The company increased one by one to a global player in food section (pudding, instant meals, sparkling wine, breweries) and non food section(e.g. shipping companies, logistics).
Description of flag:
The flag is white over red divided per bend sinister and superimposed by black serifed capital letters "RAO".
I spotted this flag on 16 March 2007 in Hamburg on top of company's office.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2007

Hanseatische Hafenbetriebsgesellschaft (HHB)

[Hanseatische Hafenbetriebsgesellschaft(HHB)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 Apr 2009

The company was established in 1963 and dissolved in 1994 bei Oetker. Afterwards the company's estates were leased to HHLA and the tugboat section was overtaken bei Carl Robert Eckelmann.
Klaus-Peter Bühne, translated by Klaus-Michael Schneider
Description of flag:
The flag is white over red divided per bend sinister and superimposed by black capital letters "HHB".
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 Apr 2009

Hanseatische Hochseefischerei AG

[RAO-Hanseatische Hochseefischerei] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 Apr 2009

The company was located in Bremerhaven. In 1929 within a series of merging "Nordsee" fish food overtook the successful company "Bremerhavener Hochseefischerei AG". On 26 September 1929 chairman Hinrich Freese acquires the quays of his old company and is founding with other businessmen the "Hanseatische Hochseefischerei AG". Six vessels can be bought for cheap price from the city of Bremerhaven. Flag and funnel of the "Bremerhavener" were kept. In 1933 another vessel was bought and in 1939 the new company had a fleet of eight modern fishing ships. During WW2 nearly the complete fleet was chartered by German navy. The remaining ships went fishing at the shores of Norway and Denmark, at the end only in the Baltic Sea.
After WW2 in 1945 the company's quays had been destroyed. The company built up new environment in the fishing port. 1959 the Oetker group acquires the "Hanseatische". The extension of territorial coastal waters of the northern states, fishing quotes and changing of structures in fishing business caused a lack of ability to react properly without help.
In 1968 a treaty between Oetker fishing group, consisting of  Hanseatische Hochseefischerei, Kohlenberg & Putz and Söhle KG, and Nordsee was signed. Both companies remained independent. Oetker dissolved its quays and its ships were equipped by "Nordsee". The new main business became frosted fish. On 1 July 1970 "Gemeinnützige Hochseefischerei GmbH(GHG)" was overtaken, including TIKO deep frost section. Söhle KG acquired the ships of GHG in 1972. HHF became corresponding shipowner. Until 1980 six new big fishing vessels were acquired. Nevertheless things turned worse, for there was no agreement about European fishing politics and Greenland fishing grounds. In 1985 the last two vessels were sold to China.
Klaus-Peter Bühne, translated and trimmed by Klaus-Michael Schneider.

Description of flag:
It is a white flag with a red stripe at top and bottom edges. In the centre is the old coat of arm of the city of Bremerhaven, a white key in a red field (Bremen) and a white chief with a red cross patty. The shield is topped by a yellow mural crown with three turrets.
Source: Klaus-Peter Bühne's webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 Apr 2009

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