50 years of change | Highlights of Hamburg’s progress as a container port



US forwarder Malcolm McLean invents the standardized container as a practical transport box, photo: A.P. Moller-Maersk

At Hamburg’s Burchardkai the first containers are dischargched, then still by conventional cranes. Containers are simply additional deck cargo and attract very little attention, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum / Harald Zoch



Prompted by Helmuth Kern, Hamburg Minister of Economics, the Hamburg government decides to expand Burchardkai into a container terminal. The port’s first container gantry cranes are erected there, initially lifting containers off multi-purpose vessels, photo: Museum der Arbeit/Harald Zoch


On 31 May 1968 the ‘American Lancer’ is the first fully cellular containership to call in the Port of Hamburg. The first container train had been handled at Burchardkai only a few weeks earlier, on 5 February, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum

Eurokai Container Terminal, now Eurogate, enters service in Walterhofer docks photo: Eurokai


The challenges of the dawning container era cause two long-established shipping companies to merge: HAPAG - Hamburg-American Line and NDL - North German Lloyd in Bremen. Head office of the new Hapag-Lloyd AG (HLAG) is in Hamburg, photo: HHM / Hapag-Lloyd


Later known as van carriers, the first straddle carriers for transporting and stacking containers enter service on Burchardkai, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum / Friedrich Zitte


 First fully cellular containerships on weekly service to and from Asia cleared at Burchardkai, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum / Friedrich Zitte



Completion of Köhlbrand Bridge and the new Elbe Tunnel, considerably improving accessibility of Hamburg’s container terminals, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum

Opening of Container Terminal Tollerort, now owned by Hamburger Hafen and Logistik AG (HHLA), photo: HHM


HHLA opens a container terminal at O’Swaldkai, now a multi-purpose terminal for RoRo cargo and fruit logistics, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum


At 1.073 million TEU, the one-million mark for container throughput is passed for the first time, photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch


German reunification means that Hamburg recovers its natural hinterland, achieving explosive throughput growth in the following years, photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch


HHLA acquires Container Terminal Tollerort, photo: HHLA / Speicherstadtmuseum


The last adjustment of the Elbe fairway so far is completed on 14 December. In the same year, merger of Eurokai and Bremer Lagerhaus-Gesellschaft container activities leads to the foundation of Eurogate, photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasepusch



Inauguration of the automated Container Terminal Altenwerder. In the same year, Hamburg for the first time handles over 5 million TEU , photo: HHM / Heinz-Joachim Hettchen

HHLA starts to expand Burchardkai to a capacity of 5.2 million TEU, photo: HHM / Dietmar  Hasenpusch


First tandem container gantry cranes, for loading and discharging the world’s largest containerships, reach Hamburg, Photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch



‘MOL Triumph’ is the first containership with a capacity of over 20,000 TEU to call Hamburg, Photo: HHM / Dietmar Hasenpusch


Over 186 million standard containers (TEU) handled via Hamburg since 1968, Photo: HHM / Michael Lindner

Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM)

Pickhuben 6

20457 Hamburg




In co-operation of

Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM),

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and

Hamburg Port Authority AöR