The Hamburg Süd Group positions itself as a one-stop shop for a wide range of shipping and logistics management services. The $5.8 billion company is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany and offers a range of container and tramp shipping services, intermodal transportation and logistics services. Hamburg maintains close to 300 offices in more that 100 countries, and, last year, transported close to three million, twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers to destinations around the world.
In 2010, Hamburg Süd Liner Services operated a total of 113 container ships. Out of that total, 36 were company-owned vessels, while 77 were chartered-in vessels. In addition, Hamburg also operated 56 tramp ships, out of which 52 were chartered for use from third-party sources. Hamburg has a total capacity of around 400,000 TEU containers. That number places Hamburg among the top container shipping services in the world in terms of volume.
In addition to its container shipping business, Hamburg Süd Liner Services is also active in the tramp-shipping sector. Tramp ships do not follow a regularly scheduled or fixed route. Instead, the ships are used to transport cargo on an as-needed basis to whichever location the customer wants it shipped. Hamburg’s tramp ships are used to transport dry bulk goods such as coal, bauxite and grain. The ships are also used to transport liquid bulk commodities, including fuel oil, aviation fuel and vegetable oils. Hamburg Süd uses a variety of mostly small and medium-sized handymax and handisize class vessels for its tramp shipping business.
Like many large shipping companies, Hamburg operates an e-commerce portal that customers can use to transact with the company. The portal allows customers to get information on the company’s schedules, book their shipping berth, track cargo and fill out customs and inspection forms. The site allows customers to conduct their entire transaction online without any need for direct human interaction.
Hamburg is a member of the Clean Cargo Working Group, and is an active proponent of environmentally friendly shipping practices. Over the past few years, the company has been conducting internal research to understand how it can reduce its carbon footprint. The company’s goal is to eventually make its research findings broadly available to other shipping companies.
Hamburg Süd entered the North American market about 50 years ago, and currently has offices in many major US and Canadian cities. The company is a partner in the US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative, under which it has agreed to abide by a set of security requirements when transporting goods in and out of the United States. The US headquarters of Hamburg Süd Liner Services is based in Miami, FL.