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About C.Woermann


The Company

Organisation

History

Afrikahaus

Linen, Passengers, Generators – the long history of C. Woermann


From the early days of linen trade, to the beginning of liner shipping to Western Africa, two world wars and the loss of all goods and estates, right up to the modern day trading of technical equipment and accompanying services, a lot has happened in the long history of C. Woermann. Read a short summary here.


Carl Woermann

1837

Founding of the company by Carl Woermann (1813–1880) in Hamburg

Exporting of linen and pottery on chartered sailing ships to the West Indies/Caribbean and importing of sugar and coffee.

1842

In the Hamburg fire that destroys large parts of the town, town hall and the old stock exchange, no buildings in Große Reichenstraße are damaged.

1847

Purchase of first sailing ship “Eleonore”.

1849

Maiden voyage of own brig “Therese Henriette” to Liberia.
Liberia branch

1854

Founding of first branch in Liberia.

Carl Woermann and his company become a household name in terms of African-German trading.

1862

Founding of the Gabon branch.

1868

Founding of the Cameroon branch.

1870

Co-founding of German Commerzbank and signing of first Commerzbank share by Carl Woermann
Adolph Woermann

1874

Adolph Woermann (1847–1911) becomes joint owner of the company.

1880

The first steamship “Aline Woermann” is commissioned.

1882

Establishment of the first liner service to Western Africa.

 

Woermann-Line postcard

1885

Founding of “Afrikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Actiengesellschaft, Woermann-Linie” (African Steamer Shipping Stock Company, Woermann Line).

Separation of shipping and trading company.

1890

Eduard Woermann (1863–1920) becomes a joint owner, Founding of “Deutsche Ost-Afrika-Linie” (DOAL, German East Africa Line).
Afrikahaus

1899

Construction of Afrikahaus begins, replacing the existing residential and office buildings and the adjacent old Hamburg townhouse and reaches from Große Reichenstraße to the canal at Gröningerstrasse.

1912

Kurt Woermann (1888-1951) becomes a partner.
Foreign trading post in Duala

1914

Loss of all investments and most ships in the aftermath of World War I.

1917

Sale of both the final shares of Woermann-Linie and the joint ownership of Deutsche-Ost-Afrika-Linie.

1920

Loss of foreign assets and restart after World War I as well as the separation of business into Western Africa (C. Woermann), Angola and and Southwest/East Africa divisions (Woermann, Brock & Co.).

 

Woermann-Store in Nsawam

1921

Re-opening of the Liberia branch.

1922

Opening of the Gold Coast branch in Ghana.

1924

Opening of the Sierra Leone branch.
Opening of the Equatorial Guinea branch.

1937

100th anniversary of the company.
Foreign trading post in Accra

1939-42

Expropriation and forced closure of all branches due to World War II.

1943

East and South wing of Afrikahaus are severely damaged during the bombardment of Hamburg.

1949

Re-opening of the Liberia branch in conjunction with the Brussels Corporation.

1951

Heinrich Woermann (1919-2015) joins the company. Opening of the Nigeria branch in Lagos in conjunction with Gilbert J. McCaul.
New office in Accra, Ghana

1954

Re-opening of the C. Woermann Ghana in Accra.

1960

The canal running behind the Afrikahaus on Gröningerstraße is filled in and the buildings on the opposite side of the canal are demolished to create space for the new Ost-West-Straße, meaning that Afrikahaus is no longer situated on the waterfront.

By the end of the 1960s the company has become a technical service provider, adding machines and entire plant facilities to its product range.

 

New office in Lagos, Nigeria

1968

Founding of C.Woermann in Lagos, Nigeria.

1972

Afrikahaus becomes a listed building.

1973

Opening of a second Ghana branch in Kumasi.

1974

Volker Kuppe becomes a partner.

1979

Detlev Woermann becomes a partner.

1983-99

Opening of branches in Guinea and Abu Dhabi.

1987

150th anniversary of the company.

1996-99

Frank Eßwein carries out a large-scale overhaul of Afrikahaus, including the addition of further storeys, based on the original blueprints of the well-known Hamburg architect Martin Haller.

2003

Axel Kuppe becomes a partner.
First office container in Angola

2005

Founding of C. Woermann Angola in Luanda.

2011

Expansion of C. Woermann (Ghana) Ltd. in Accra.

Rasmus Woermann becomes a partner.

2012

175th anniversary of the company.
C.Woermann's current branches in Africa.

Today

C. Woermann has associated companies in Ghana, Nigeria und Angola.

In addition, we are also active in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé and Príncipe and other African countries.