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Hansa Treuhand seeks court protection for 15 boxships

The Hamburg shipping community has reacted with shock and sadness that one of the city’s erstwhile maritime champions Hermann Ebel has become the latest victim of the container downturn. Ebel, who via his firm Hansa Treuhand, was a pioneer of the KG system, has now sought court protection for a number of his ships.

In a statement on the Hansa Treuhand site, the company said it would look to halve its fleet of around 50 ships, admitting that any turnaround in shipping was several years away. The German owner has sought creditor protection for 15 container ships at a court in Hamburg. German media is reporting around one quarter of the company’s 130 staff in Hamburg will be made redundant.

Splash understands Ebel’s own personal shipping investments have been wiped out.

“I feel sorry for him, because he has been one of those in denial of the market situation. He kept KG activities going for another seven or eight years after Lehman,” a source in Hamburg commented.

A report carried on Splash last week suggested that around 20% of KG ships were now insolvent, a figure sources in Germany expect to grow by another 40%.

Hansa Treuhand stated that its cruise business, Sea Cloud Cruises, and its shipbroking outfits, Hansa Chartering and United Maritime Brokers, would all continue to operate.

On lessons learnt during the downturn, Ebel reflected in an interview with Maritime CEO three years ago: “Hindsight is easier than foresight. However, it is true that too many vessels have been ordered in the past. Some of us ought to have known better.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. KG was for years one of the most shipping market disturbing concepts supported by the German Taxpayers. There will be many German pubowners, doctors, lawyers and other “grey money” owners sleeping very uncomfortable over the coming months as they cannot show the money to the taxman.

  2. I was sadden to hear about, Hermann Ebel demise from International Container market, as this firm held out a lot longer then expected. Being willing to say that KG Shipping Community, Is closer to fifty, (50%) Insolvent then they are letting to be. We have a lot of associates in Germany, & they say things are very rocky here, expect more firms to fail..

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