On March 9th, 1918, in the middle of the 1st World War the remaining shipbrokers in Altona, Bremen, Danzig, Hamburg, Königsberg, Lübeck, Stettin and Wismar combined their activites to gain influence with the then German Imperial Government and founded the German Ship Brokers’ Association. This was the foundation for the nearly 100 year history of the Association. Even though the profession as a shipbroker is by far older and has been part of the maritime industry already for centuries, with the foundation of the German Ship Broker’s Association a confederation on a national was established that is still active next to all the regional confederations.
In the past 100 years many changes took place in the different fields of the profession. Wars, economic crises and local protectionism marred foreign trade and traditional markets were lost. Two times the local shipbrokers started anew after lost wars. Technical innovations revolutionized the job and the international communication. Letters and later the telephone were for years the standard in communication. Now second-by-second electronic data transfer is the new normal.
In spite of all the changes and challenges over the past 100 years, one should not forget that ships and the shipping industry will be part of logistics for years to come and therefore the profession as a shipbroker will survive as long as it will master the future challenges such as the digitalisation with as much bravura as the ones before.
The main purpose of the ZVDS is to promote the joint professional interests of German ship brokers and ship agents, without imposing any restrictions or supervision on the economic freedom of the individual companies. The ZVDS handles all concerns of the business that are of a general nature, representing the interests of all its member companies. This work includes relations with the authorities and other national associations and institutions. The ZVDS provides advisory services and represents the interests of ship brokers and ship agents vis-á-vis the Federal German authorities, institutions and professional associations.