Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft A/S & Co. KG, widely known as Hamburg Süd, is a German container shipping company. Founded in 1871, Hamburg Süd is among the market leaders in the North–South trade. It also serves all significant East–West trade lanes.
In 1871, Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft (Hamburg–South America Steam Shipping Company, or Hamburg South America Line) was established by a conglomerate of 11 Hamburg-based merchant houses. Three steam-ships totalling 4,000 GRT provided a monthly shipping service to Brazil and Argentina.
By 1914, the company was operating over 50 ships totaling approximately 325,000 GRT. World War I culminated in the loss of all Hamburg Süd’s vessels, and the company was forced to begin again by chartering vessels.
The early 1950s saw the company embark on tramp shipping and tanker shipping, and caused the large growth of refrigerated cargo. In 1955, the Dr. August Oetker company took over the entity, and began rapid expansion on its liner and passenger services.
The takeover of Deutsche Levante Linie in 1956 saw the company commence its first foray into the Mediterranean. In 1957, liner services began between North America and Australia/New Zealand, with the Columbus New Zealand being the first container ship to ply trade lanes in the region in 1971, pioneering containerization in the Pacific.
- The Cap Trafalgar was a brand-new passenger liner, having been completed only on March 1, 1914 and had commenced her maiden voyage only on March 10, 1914. Germany had lightly armed the vessel with two 10.5 cm guns and 6 heavy machine guns, and had removed one of the three steam-funnels and re-coloured the vessel to disguise it as a British liner. The vessel encountered the British fully armed ex-steam liner RMS Carmania about 700 miles east of the Brazilian coast, near the island of Trindade, at 9:30 a.m. on September 14, 1914. After a heated exchange of fire between the two ships, the Cap Trafalgar began listing to the left, then sank bow-first.
- The Cap Arcona, arguably one of the most beautiful passenger liners in its time, was converted to serve the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as a converted transport vessel in 1940. At the end of 1944 it was commandeered as a troopship, primarily transporting refugees and prisoners of war on the Baltic Sea. Loaded with 4,500 prisoners at Lübeck Bay, it was attacked and sunk by Royal Air ForceTyphoons in an air-raid. It remained capsized in Lübeck Bay until 1950 and was then dismantled by divers over a period of several years and scrapped. The wreckage was registered and photographed in detail by Rolls Royce, which had produced the RAF’s rockets, to assess their effectiveness.