Hamburg Süd is a German container shipping company. Accidents in shipping are unfortunately common. Hamburg Süd has experienced incidents that damaged ships, caused oil spills, and injured workers.
About Hamburg Süd
Hamburg Süd is a large German container shipping company founded in 1871. From its origins as a conventional shipping company, it has developed into an innovative, global shipper that consistently ranks in the top ten shipping companies in the world.
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It is the second-largest shipping company in Germany after Hapag-Lloyd. Hamburg Süd is one of the largest and most important companies that ship on North-South routes. Hamburg Süd is also a part of the larger Oetker Group, a huge family business in Germany.
It is also an intermodal shipping company, which means it does more than just ship cargo from port to port. It is involved in moving cargo from ports to warehouses and other locations. Hamburg Süd includes additional brands, including CCNI in Chile and Alianca in Brazil.
Hamburg Süd History
Hamburg Süd has a long and rich history in shipping. It was founded in 1871 as the Hamburg – South American Shipping Company.
- The initial business included three steamships that plied the routes between Germany, Brazil, and Argentina.
- By 1914 the company had expanded to a fleet of 50 vessels, several being high-speed steamships.
- In World War I, Hamburg Süd lost its entire fleet of ships and was forced to rebuild using chartered ships.
- The company quickly grew again and began offering passenger services and shipping goods.
- By 1939 the company was up to more than 50 ships in its fleet but again lost them to the Second World War.
- In 1951 Hamburg Süd resumed services with new routes between Europe and South America.
- Recovering after the war, Hamburg Süd grew and expanded its fleet and its operations. It included new routes to the Mediterranean, North America, New Zealand, and Australia.
- It also grew by building its own ships, expanding routes worldwide, and offering various services. The company also grew by acquiring other companies.
Hamburg Süd Operations
As a maritime shipping company, Hamburg Süd offers several services beyond simply shipping containers from port to port. However, this remains its number one service and type of operation.
The container shipping line has thousands of employees and over 250 offices in multiple countries. It operates over 130 container vessels, holding over half a million cargo containers.
In 1952 Hamburg Süd added tramp shipping to its operations. Unlike liner shipping, which follows set routes, tramp shipping is on-the-spot shipping with no fixed route.
It is a type of operations that allows the company to offer flexible and last-minute services for moving cargo. Hamburg Süd also provides logistical services, ship management, and a travel agency.
Hamburg Süd’s Fleet
The fleet operated by Hamburg Süd is large and modern. The company strives to keep it up to date and to make it one of the most efficient fleets in the world.
It includes a variety of types of vessels, including tankers, ships used in tramp shipping, bulk carriers, and container ships. The twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) capacity of the vessel ranges from just around 1,000 up to more than 10,000. There are over 150 vessels in the fleet.
Safety and Policies
Hamburg Süd claims to have policies in place for its workers’ safety and the environment. It says that all workers at all levels follow laws, guidelines, and regulations regarding safety and sustainability in all world regions.
The company claims to provide all workers with the best equipment, rigorous training, and complete information about hazards and risks so they can do their jobs safely.
To back up its commitment to safety, Hamburg Süd recently joined other shippers in using the Inttra platform, an electronic marketplace designed to help ships better comply with international container weight regulations.
It is known that incorrectly declared container weights are a common occurrence in international shipping, which is a root cause of many accidents. The use of the electronic system will provide better, more accurate weights.
Hamburg Süd Accidents
Although it commits to safety, Hamburg Süd has faced accidents and will likely continue to do so, as shipping is inherently risky.
- Early in the company’s history, one accident occurred in 1930 when the Monte Cervantes, a passenger vessel, struck submerged rocks near Tierra del Fuego in South American waters. The ship could not be saved and sank. Luckily passengers and crew could disembark and were saved, but the captain lost his life.
- More recently, Hamburg Süd experienced an incident in 201 when its ship, the Monte Alegre, collided with a chemical tanker in Houston’s busy shipping channel. Considering that one ship carried chemical cargo and both had fuel, the accident could have been much worse. No spills occurred, and no workers were injured. Each ship, however, sustained costly damage. The fault was found to lie with Hamburg Süd’s ship, which sped up without informing the other ship.
Accidents and Maritime Law
When maritime companies experience accidents, workers risk sustaining injuries and even death. Workers have a right to expect that these companies will do all that is possible to maintain a safe work environment, and yet the industry is naturally dangerous.
Workers on Hamburg Süd container ships are at risk for:
- Falls overboard
- Injuries caused by collisions
- Onboard fires
- Port accidents with cranes and cargo
- Slips and trips
Fortunately for these workers, maritime laws are designed to protect them and give them the right to sue and seek compensation from employers.
If you have been injured in a maritime job, you can find out from an experienced lawyer which laws apply to your situation and how you can use them to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Consult with this professional before agreeing to anything your employer offers.