Sustained Success with Tropical Fruits

The HHLA predecessors Quay Administration and HFLG had already taken the first fruit sheds into service in 1896 and had since acted as a pioneer, especially in the banana trade. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century fruit – above all imported tropical fruits – had constituted only around 0.5 percent of all goods handled, by 1910 this proportion had tripled to 1.4 percent.

After the collapse of trade during World War I, goods volume recovered in the “Golden Twenties”. Between 1924 and 1928 throughput rose by ten million to almost 30 million tons. A new trend assisted here: Special sheds for special handling tasks. In 1929, the Quay Administration installed a mobile conveyor system with elevators protected from the weather and conveyor belts running into the sheds for the bananas then still arriving in bunches. The first special shed for bananas was built in 1932.

After World War II, the banana really became part of the national staple diet, with Germans having the highest per capita consumption in the world. At the end of the 1960s HHLA was handling half a million tons of bananas a year.  Thanks to its competence in this area, over the years Hamburg repeatedly emerged as Europe’s top fruit import port.