Buss Group celebrates its 100th company anniversary
Gerd Buss Stauerei was founded in autumn 1920 | Since the generational change in 1990, the Buss Group has undergone major changes and has established a broad base | In addition to port logistics, its business segments today also include wind energy, logistics real estate, shipping and investments
Hamburg. The Buss Group is celebrating its 100th anniversary. For many decades, Buss was primarily a port company with a peak of four terminals in the Port of Hamburg. Today, the owner-managed group of companies with around 500 employees is broadly positioned in the business segments port logistics, wind energy, logistics real estate, shipping and investments.
Founded in 1920 in the Port of Hamburg
Shortly after the end of the First World War, the economy and thus also the Port of Hamburg experienced a new beginning. In this prosperous environment Gerd Buss, former officer of a shipping company, founded the stevedoring company of the same name. The company quickly made a name for itself with the loading and unloading of ships. Within ten years Gerd Buss and his brother Hinrich developed the Gerd Buss Stevedoring Company into one of the largest in Hamburg.
From a stevedoring company to a maritime logistics Group
100 years later, port logistics only makes up a small part of the Buss Group. After the Second World War, the company prospered above all during the years of the economic miracle until the 1980s. The rapid containerisation of general cargo transport since the 1960s made the Buss Group's core business, conventional cargo handling, increasingly superfluous. Buss had to look for new fields of activity.
Important milestones in the company history
Important milestones in the Buss history were the new beginning after the Second World War (1945), the merger with the Aug. Bolten shipping company to strengthen the capital base (1970), the entry into the logistics real estate business (1995), the takeover of the Buss Group by the current Managing Partner Dr Johann Killinger (2002), the founding of the investment company Buss Capital (2003), the agreement with the City of Hamburg on the closure of all Buss terminals in the Port of Hamburg (2009), the entry into the shipping business (2009) and the development of the wind energy sector (from 2011).
"We have reached the 100th anniversary because we have succeeded in adapting to the rapidly changing market again and again. I would like to thank our employees in particular for this. A very special thanks also goes to our customers, some of whom have been loyal to us for decades," says Dr Killinger, Managing Partner.
An overview of the business segments of the current Buss Group:
The high expenses in relation to the closure of the Buss Hansa Terminal 2016 in Hamburg made it necessary to reorganise the "Port" division. Today, Buss in Hamburg offers maritime factory logistics services and still provides classic stevedoring services. Outside Hamburg, Buss operates terminals in Sassnitz/Mukran, Stade, in the Dutch port town of Eemshaven and offers plant logistics at the customer site in Duisburg, either alone or in partnerships. The port activities of the Buss Group are consolidated under the name "Buss Ports".
Logistics Real Estate
A milestone in the company's history was the entry into the logistics and logistics real estate business in the 1990s. Today, under the name Ixocon, this division is an important pillar of the Buss Group. The business model is based on developing logistics centres and selling them to investors after successful completion. Buss holds some logistics properties in its own portfolio. Since the division was founded in 1995, Ixocon has completed 54 projects with more than 800,000 m2 of storage space and an investment volume of more than 600 million euros. The geographical focus was initially on Hamburg. Today, Ixocon develops logistics properties throughout Germany. The logistics project for Amazon, which was completed in 2019, is the largest logistics centre realized by Ixocon with 150,000 m² and also one of the largest in Europe for Amazon.
In 2003 Buss founded the investment company Buss Capital, which conceptualises and distributes closed-end funds in the field of maritime logistics. Within a few years Buss Capital became the market leader in container funds and at the same time an important financial partner for container leasing companies. In 2006, Buss Capital refinances the complete leasing fleet of the Chinese leasing company Florens for 860 million US dollars. In the following years, Buss Capital enters further investment markets in 2008 with real estate funds, ship funds and funds in the booming cruise market. To date, around 31,000 investors have invested around 1.1 billion euros of equity in a total of 88 funds and direct investments as well as an alternative investment fund. The total investment volume of the placed investments amounts to around 2.5 billion euros.
Over the years, Buss Capital has built up a considerable competitive advantage, particularly in the field of container investments. This concerns the purchase of containers, the management of container portfolios and their sale. For the innovative securitization of container investments for the US capital market, Buss Capital was twice awarded "Deal of the Year" by the financial market organization "Marine Money".
As part of a strategic realignment, in 2020 the Buss Capital management team has founded a new company: Buss Capital Invest designs and distributes investments in tangible assets outside of closed-end funds and direct investments. Its focus is on registered bonds, other similar investments and digital investments. A first product is projected. An interest rate investment with fixed interest rates and a short maturity is expected to be launched at the beginning of October.
The shipping activities of Buss, consolidated in Buss Shipping, were merged with the traditional shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg in 2017. The new joint venture operates more than 45 container ships. Chartering is operated by Hanseatic Unity Chartering. This company with headquarters in Hamburg and Singapore bundles the chartering activities of five shipping companies: Bernhard Schulte, Reederei Nord, Borealis Maritime, Atlantic Lloyd as well as Leonhardt & Blumberg with a total of more than 210 container ships. For three years now, the merger has proven to be an extremely sensible step in container shipping, which has been in crisis since 2009.
Buss Terminal in Eemshaven is the nucleus of the wind energy sector. Since 2011, it has primarily served as a base port for the logistics of offshore wind farms in the North Sea. Today Buss offers not only the logistics of offshore wind turbines but also the installation and service of wind turbines on land and at sea. Recently, drone based inspection services with automatic damage detection and weather-independent blade repair platforms were added. Buss also set up joint ventures in France and the USA with local partners to grow with the renewable energy markets. Since 2019 all Buss wind energy activities have been bundled in the holding company "Buss Energy Group".
About the Buss Group
The owner-managed company with its approximately 500 employees offers services in Europe, the USA and Singapore. The Group is active in the following business segments: in the Port Services division, Buss offers its customers port services and plant logistics services; in the Buss Energy Group division, Buss bundles various companies in the onshore and offshore wind energy sector; Ixocon develops and manages logistics real estate; the shipping companies operate a fleet of modern container feederships and bulkers; and the issuing house Buss Capital focuses on funds and investments in the container sector.
About Dr Johann Killinger, Managing Partner
Dr Johann Killinger is Managing Partner of the Buss Group. He was born in Hamburg in 1960. After studying law in Freiburg, Munich, Berlin and San Francisco, he passed the second state law examination in Berlin in 1990. He began his professional career at the management consultancy Roland Berger.
In 1991, Dr Killinger joined the Buss Group, in which his family held a minority stake at the time. He built up the logistics and logistics real estate divisions. In 2000, he acquired all shares in these divisions, and in 2002 all shares in the Buss Group. In 2003, Dr Killinger founded the issuing house Buss Capital, followed in 2009 by the shipping company Buss Shipping, which later merged with Leonhardt and Blumberg Shipmanagement, and in 2011 he entered the wind energy sector.
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