1920–1938 Establishment and Growth
1920 – After the end of WWI, the economy got a fresh start, which greatly benefited the Port of Hamburg as well. Against this backdrop, Gerhard (Gerd) Buss is founding the stevedoring outfit Gerd Buss Stauerei. One year later he admits his brother Hinrich (Uncle Hinni) as a Partner into the firm. The brothers bring along good requirements: Previously, Gerd was an officer for the OPDR (Oldenburg-Portugiesische Dampfschiffs-Reederei GmbH & Co. KG) - a client of Buss up to the present day - and went to the sea and had experience in transshipment and stevedoring of loadings. Hinrich was a skilled shipping agent and understood the clients perception - shipping companies as well as trade and industry.
1930s – Gerd Buss Stauerei is now one of the leading stevedoring outfits in the Port of Hamburg. The company can call 20 domestic and foreign liner services their customers. A tramping shipowners are also part of the clientele. The stevedoring outfit often employs up to 1,000 longshoremen a day. One of the workers working for Gerd Buss Stauerei as a "Stauerviz" (nowadays called a "supercargo") is Erwin Seeler, born in 1910, successful working class athlete and father of what later on will become HSV idol and German National Soccer Team player Uwe Seeler.
1939–1945 World War II
1939 – The outbreak of World War II brings the globalization of the 1920’s and 1930’s and thus the activities of Gerd Buss Stauerei to a grinding halt. Now, only smaller vessels are handled, and only on occasion.
1945–1959 Post War Era and Rebuilding
1945 – Only after the end of WW II, Gerd Buss Stauerei resume their business in a largely destroyed port. The entire Port of Hamburg is awaiting rebuilding efforts. At first, the stevedores process vessels for the securing of the supplies for the British Occupational Forces. After the German commercial maritime shipping industry rapidly starts to turn around, the Gerd Buss Stauerei can regain old customers.
1946 – With the first general elections, the normal day-to-day activities in Hamburg resume. Jürgen Buss, son of Hinrich, is added as an additional partner to Gerd Buss Stauerei.
1950 – The German "Wirtschaftswunder" or economic miracle, drives the cargo handling in the Port of Hamburg to new heights. Among others, Buss takes over the transshipment for Volkswagen in the harbour of Hamburg, later on, also in Emden.
1960–1969 Containerization Changes the Face of the Industry
1960s – The start of the container era, which is accompanied by a major leap in productivity by standardizing and mechanizing the transport of general cargo. As a consequence, the classic, labor-intensive stevedoring craft slowly becomes a thing of the past. Due to the standardised Container, transports become cheaper, faster, more punctual and safer. To stay active in the area of port handling, Buss acts on shore and operate own terminals.
1970 – To raise the necessary financial capacity, buss founds a common financial Holding with Aug. Bolten in 1970. For Aug. Bolten and it´s executive partners, Dr. Johann Adolf Binder and Dr. Hans Helmut Killinger, a common advantage is related to this. The risky shipping company and shipping agency business can get stabilized through an additional servicing business.
1970–1989 From Stevedores to Terminal Operator
1970 – In the 70s, the containerization gathers momentum. The transatlantic passage becomes nearly completely containerized. In the North Pacific the change of the actions between the USA and Japan progresses quickly.
1970s – Buss does not merely focus on transports in containers between highly developed industrial countries, but also on other countries of the world. In order to secure business for the stevedoring outfit here, the company acquires a number of conventional terminal operators – first in line is the Rosskai. After the Rosskai, which was operated together in a joint venture with the HHLA (Arge Rosskai), the Afrika-Terminal, Kuhwerder-Terminal and the Tollerort-Terminal come into addition at the beginning of the 80s.
1970s – The Elbe River in Hamburg gets a makeover: While the Autobahn A7 is being extended through the new Elbtunnel and beyond, motorists get a chance for a bird’s eye view of Hamburg from the Köhlbrand Bridge. Aside from the cargo handling business, Buss now offers the lease of launches and a ships' carpenter and paint shop.
1980s – In addition to the conventional transshipment of general cargo, Buss also starts to be concerned with containers. At first this happens in edge areas and not within the transshipment of full container ships. Among others Buss becomes agent for the lessor CTI. Furthermore, Buss operates mobile workshops for maintenance, mending and disposal of containers and is also involved in a project for the production of containers in Cuba. At the beginning of the 80s, Buss founds a joint venture with the Deutschen Bahn for the construction and operation of depots for containers in the german backcountry and recently operates 14 depots in Germany and Hungary. With the corporate name Gerd Buss Drehtainer GmbH, later on Gerd Buss Container Service GmbH, Buss also starts to join the Container mending business.
1980s – The state shipping companies of the eastern bloc and also of the countries of the third world became the most important clients at these Buss-Terminals. Due to the missing cost pressure and capital, the shipping companies didn´t containerize their services, but kept on to convey general cargo in boxes, bags and bales, etc. Besides the first steps into the opertation of the terminal in Hamburg, Buss also participates in terminals in Emden and Brunsbüttel. Moreover, Buss builds up a comprehensive service for the conventional transshipment of general cargo. In the late 80s, the access into the transshipment of full container ships takes place, the Tollerort-Terminal gets reconstructed into a container terminal.
1990–1999 Radical Alteration And New Emphases
1990s – In 1990, the manager and associate Gerd Buss retires and leaves the Buss Group. The associate families Binder and Killinger and later on the SIGNAL IDUNA insurance Group allocate the responsibilities for the business in the challenging 90s to Olav von Maydell. Because of the collapse of the eastern bloc and the fast industrialization of Asia, the conventional transshipment of general cargo comes nearly completely to a standstill. In the late 90s, the level of containerization in the harbour of Hamburg rises up to 95 percent. Buss has to close conventional terminals and discharge more than 400 employees. To survive, the company is forced to sell some of it´s properties. This includes the container terminal Tollerort, the sharing of the container depots in the inland as well as the participation in Emden and Brunsbüttel.
1992 – New emphases are put on the modern development of real estate for cargo handling and storage to accommodate the needs of the logistics industry. In 1992, affiliate Ixocon takes over the real estate business of the Buss Group. On top of the management of real estate, Ixocon also gets involved in the design and implementation of logistics real estate projects.
1999 – With the Buss Hansa Terminal, the Port of Hamburg gains a modern multi-purpose terminal.
2000–2009 New Corporate Business Areas
2000s – In 2001, Dr. Johann Killinger, the oldest son of Dr. Hans Helmut Killinger, first buys the logistics department which he built up in the 90s. Thereon he buys all parts of the Buss Group. The common financial holding with it´s shipping company Aug. Bolten is resolved, whereas Dr. Johann Killinger still remains in the executive office of the shipping company. After the redevelopment of the terminal in Hamburg, the Buss Group starts to expand again - first to Sassnitz.
In 2003 –The issuing house Buss Capital is established and emits closed funds in the section of maritime logistics. Within a few years, Buss Capital becomes market leader in the area of container funds as well as an important financial partner for container leasing companies. From 2009 on, more asset classes come into addition as Buss Capital extrapolates property and shipping funds. All business areas and the involvement of Dr. Johann Killinger in the shipping company Aug. Bolten get concluded into the holding Buss Group GmbH & Co. KG in 2006. The business area of hazardous goods logistics (goods Safelox), which was built up in the 90s, gets sold in 2009.
2006 – Buss Port Logistics sheds the container business. Raffles Lease manages and leases out company owned containers from their location in Singapore on behalf of various investors.
In 2009, after decades of gaining experience in the port business, Buss enters the shipowners' industry and consolidates all maritime shipping activities under the roof of Buss Shipping. Now the Buss Group are shipowners, which capitalizes on the experience from being a shareholder in the August Bolten Reederei. The ElbePort Wittenberge is established and becomes Buss Port Logistics' first interior port terminal.
2010-today Today Expansion in All Business Areas
2010s – Buss Capital is recognized by Marine Money for their funds with the "Deal of the Year" award, and Buss Port Logistics too can rejoice: they made third place in the market survey competition for the new Central Terminal Steinwerder. In the following four years, Buss Port Logistics opens up a number of new terminals in Stade and Duisburg, and beyond German borders, in Iskenderun, Turkey, and in Eemshaven, the Netherlands. In multiple locations, Buss Port Logistics starts catering to the offshore logistics industry and enters a new field of business.
In 2012 Buss Shipping takes over Walther Möller GmbH, which brings a shipbrokers outfit into the Buss Group. Even Buss Capital expands, and establishes the joint venture Asia Offshore in 2014.
2014 – Buss Capital establishes the capital management company Buss Investment GmbH. Since 2015, it structures and manages closed alternative investment funds of the Buss Capital Group.
2016 – The lease agreements for the Buss Hansa and Buss Ross Terminals in Hamburg expire at the end of the year. Buss Port Logistics restructures around its core competences, and focuses on the areas stevedoring and contract logistics; as well as project logistics services with emphasis on the offshore wind industry logistics. The company operates in Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey.
2017- Leonhardt & Blumberg Reederei GmbH & Co. KG and Buss Shipping GmbH & Co. KG bundle their management activities in Leonhardt & Blumberg Shipmanagement GmbH & Co. KG. The joint managed fleet will consist of 55 ships with a focus on the container feeder segment and an average ship age of 8 years.
Buss restructures its port area: Buss Port Logistics will in future operate under Buss Port Services and Buss Offshore Solutions. While Buss Port Services bundles the classic stevedoring and contract logistics, Buss Offshore Solutions advises international customers in the offshore/on-shore and oil/gas industry and develops or rather realizes port logistics solutions for them.