Shipping companies form the backbone of global logistics. Many of them are based at the long-established ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven or operate a branch here.
In Germany, around 2,000 merchant vessels are in service with 316 shipping companies. The majority (80 percent) of the fleets consist of fewer than ten ships, and the industry is dominated by small and medium-sized companies. The German merchant fleet occupies 5th place in the world rankings, even though the number of ships has been declining for years. With its long maritime heritage, the state of Bremen is also home to a large number of shipping companies. Shipowners were already setting sail for the North and Baltic Seas from the Hanseatic city as far back as the Middle Ages. Many of today’s shipping companies are members of the Bremer Rhederverein (German)(Association of Bremen Shipowners), which represents the interests of the industry.
Shipping companies either operate their own ships or charter (hire) ships in order to manage them – in other words, to supply them with equipment and personnel, maintain them, and send them across the world’s oceans and rivers. In most cases, a shipping company is not responsible for handling the cargo on the ships, but can also take charge of this.
As part of the global supply chain, Bremerhaven’s ports are regular destinations for the largest container giants. These are mostly operated by international groups that have opened branches in the state of Bremen to handle business locally. The groups include:
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