Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft is founded as a joint-stock company by representatives of 11 Hamburg merchant houses. Three steamers of barely 4,000 GRT sail to Brazil and La Plata in a monthly service.
The era of the fast steamer on the South America passage begins with the "Cap" steamships Cap Vilano and Cap Arcona I.
The company has over 50 ships totalling around 325,000 GRT, among them the three large high-speed steamers Cap Finisterre, Cap Trafalgar and Cap Polonio.
After the loss of the entire fleet in the First World War, reconstruction of liner shipping begins with chartered vessels.
With the Cap Polonio, the glittering era of the sea cruise begins. Hamburg Süd achieves worldwide importance in this sector in the 20s and 30s.
Second total loss of the entire fleet as a result of the Second World War. Ships are lost or have to be surrendered as part of reparation payments.
Shipping activities are extended to the tramp area. Start of tanker shipping and expansion of the refrigerated business as part of Rudolf A. Oetker KG (RAO).
The first full container ships – Columbus New Zealand, Columbus Australia and Columbus America – are deployed between U.S. East Coast and Australia/New Zealand, pioneering containerization in the Pacific.
Acquisition of the UK's Furness Withy Group, owner of, among others, the prestigious Royal Mail Line and The Pacific Steam Navigation Company (PSNC). Takeover of the Swedish Laser Lines, Rotterdam Zuid-America Lijn (RZAL) and Havenlijn.
Acquisition of South Pacific Container Lines and Transroll's Europe – South America East Coast liner operations.
Acquisition of the Inter-America Services of the American shipping company Crowley American Transport (CAT).
Acquisition of the Ellerman services to the Mediterranean and to India/Pakistan and takeover of the Kien Hung liner services Asia – South America in April.
On 1 January, the Columbus Line and Crowley American Transport brands are replaced by the well-known and globally important Hamburg Süd brand.
The first of a total of six identical 5,552 TEU container ships is christened in July. Up to autumn 2005, five further sister ships of the Monte class follow. The vessels rank among the container ships with the largest reefer capacity worldwide.
On 1 January, the Ellerman brand is replaced by the well-known and globally important Hamburg Süd brand.
Acquisition of all the shares of Ybarra y Cía. Sudamérica S.A. (Ybarra Sud) in December.
Purchase of cross trade activities between Australia / New Zealand and Asia as well as North America from Fesco under the name of FANZL Fesco Australia New Zealand Liner Services in July.
The brand Ybarra y Cía. Sudamérica S.A. (Ybarra Sud) is replaced by the Hamburg Süd Iberia S.A brand in December.
Double christening of the "Bahia" and "Bahia Blanca" in Korea in February. The two ships are the first of a total of six identical 3,752 TEU container ships.
Takeover of the liner operations of Costa Container Lines – to the Mediterranean, South America East and North Coast, Central America and the Caribbean – as from 1 December 2007.
The "FANZL Fesco Australia New Zealand Liner Services" brand is replaced by the Hamburg Süd brand in January.
Hamburg Süd christens the largest-ever container ship in the company's history in March. The "Rio de la Plata" is the first newbuilding in a series of six identical vessels each possessing a slot capacity of 5,900 TEU. At a length of 286 metres, the "Rio" class is precisely one bay longer than the 5,552 TEU "Monte" class vessels.
In October 2010 the 7,100 TEU container ship “Santa Clara” was put into service at the Daewoo-Yard (DSME) in South Korea. She is the largest vessel ever to have sailed under the Hamburg Süd flag. A further nine “Santa” class vessels are due to be delivered for the shipping group by the end of 2012.