in the Hamburg Stock Exchange Hall at 2.30pm on 8 January 1897

Direct reason for establishment

Strike by port workers from 20 November 1896 to 8 February 1897, with participation of 16,700 dockers and seamen

Entry in Register of Associations

15. Mai 1903


J.A. Edye (1897-1898) Fr. Loesener-Sloman (1899-1905) Johs. Kothe (1906-1907) Alfred Edye (1908-1912) Alphonse Cellier (1913-1919) Herm. Reincke (1920-1933) F. Guido Caulier-Eimbcke (1934-1945) Arthur Röver (1946-1947) Carl Pries (1948-1962) Kurt Fritzel (1963-1964) Ernst Dreyer-Eimbcke (1965) Rob. Miles Reincke (1966-1969) Oswald Dreyer-Eimbcke (1970-1986) Dr. Hans Helmut Killinger (1987-1991) Hans Schilling (1992-1998) Bolko Graf von Pfeil (1999-2002) C. Thomas Rehder (seit 2003-2009) Christian C. Koopmann (seit 2010)

Managing Directors

Bruno Jansen (21. January 1947 – 31. Juli 1982 – 35 years) Klaus Bültjer (01. August 1982 – 31. März 2011 – 28 years) Dr. Alexander Geisler (since 01. März 2011)

Hamburg and Bremen Shipbrokers´ Association

On the 8 January 1897, Association was founded by a gathering of 44 Hamburg ship brokers. Their main motivation was the great strike of 1896/97, a conflict which had suddenly broken out after building up over the years beforehand. In the end, the disputes and strikes also began to involve other workers in the port, whose claims were mainly addressed to the shipping lines. The ship brokers quickly recognised that, if they did not wish to get squeezed by these disputes, they had to speak with one voice in order to stand up for their interests and those of their principals.

The constitutive meeting was held at the Hamburg Stock Exchange Hall and elected J.A. Edye from the Rob. M. Sloman jr. company as its first Chairman. He called on members above all to observe the principle of “good faith” at all times. The first official act of the new Hamburg Shipbrokers’ Association was to send a circular to all shipowners in Germany and abroad. That letter not only recommended the member companies as trustworthy business partners, but also informed the shipowners of the practices of certain Hamburg stevedoring companies, which had developed some dubious business practices in the preceding years, leading in some cases to vastly excessive charges. The interest of the Hamburg shipbrokers then as now was to make their port as cost-effective and efficient as possible.

In June 2018 the Hamburg Shipbrokers´Association (VHSS) and the Bremen Shipbrokers´Association (VBSS) merged to the Hamburg and Bremen Shipbrokers`Association (VHBS). 

Today the Hamburg and Bremen Shipbrokers’ Association (VHBS) is a voluntary organization promoting the interests of the ship brokers and ship agents located in Bremen and Hamburg. In particular, it promotes the exchange of information and experience between members in both commercial and technical matters. Alongside powers of individual advice to member companies, the Association publishes general information in the form of circulars, press publications and annual reports. Currently VHBS membership comprises 150 companies - liner agents, ship brokers, S&P brokers and port agents.  

VHBS’s primary decision making body is the Member’s Meeting, which consists of representatives of all the Full Members. Associate Members enjoy all the benefits of Full Membership, but do not have a vote. The Board is elected every two years by Council and is responsible to Member´s Meeting for the management of the Association. The Secretariat is responsible for all aspects of the administration of VHBS.