The history of EUROGATE does not begin in 1999, the year it was founded. Four years before, in 1995, the first negotiations had already taken place between what at that time were competing companies – BLG Logistics Group (Bremen) and EUROKAI (Hamburg) – in Hittfeld, on the very outskirts of Hamburg. Both companies were in search of new strategies and new solutions, to meet the demands of the future. Globalisation, growing concentration among shipping lines, and increased competition between ports and terminal operators, all demanded bold designs. So those in charge sat down at a round table. That was when EUROGATE was born.
EUROGATE merged the container business of BLG Logistics Group and EUROKAI. Two different firms, with two different cultures, have now grown into one company with an independent market presence. Since that time EUROGATE has shown that the strategy founded in Hittfeld has worked out.
However different EUROGATE’s parent companies may be, they have one thing in common: they are both traditional port businesses, whose history stretches back to the mid nineteenth century. Both have had a decisive influence on developments in their ports across the centuries.
Bremer Lagerhaus Gesellschaft was founded in 1877 by Bremen merchants for the import of cotton. In 2002 the company, which is owned by the state of Bremen, celebrated its 125 anniversary. Today cotton is no longer of any importance. With its car and container terminals, Bremen has found a new focus. Thus in the mid-60s the first containers crossed the Atlantic to Bremen, and in May 1966 Bremen became Germany’s first container port.
EUROKAI is a family firm, now in the fifth generation. It was founded in 1865 in the Port of Hamburg by Cordt Eckelmann as a sailing-barge line. For almost a century, port navigation remained the family’s core business. In a few years, from 1961 onwards, Kurt Eckelmann, the great-grandson of the founder, built up the most important – and today the only privately-managed – container terminal in Germany. In 1982 his son, Thomas Eckelmann, joined the company’s management board and, since his father’s death, has presided over the expansion of the largest owner-managed port business in Europe.