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125 years of Fr. Meyer's Sohn | Perseverance and passion

The Hamburg-based freight forwarding and logistics company looks back on a 125-year history.

By tradition: Focus on people and expertise

When Friedrich Hugo Ernst Meyer met his future wife, he was earning his money in the family-run sugar refinery Friedrich Meyer's Sohn AG in Tangermünde. However, the tranquil village was too small for Anny Meyer. In order to be able to fulfil her persistently expressed wish to move to a larger city, an expansion of the business idea was needed.
Friedrich Hugo Ernst Meyer founded the freight forwarding company Fr. Meyer's Sohn* (FMS) in Hamburg on 15 September 1897. The forwarding company, which was small at the time, found its first headquarters in a 35 m2 office room in Hamburg's Brandstwiete and shipped in particular sugar from the family sugar factory as well as coffee. Right at the beginning, Ernst Meyer hired an expert as general partner. He quickly expanded the business.

Then as now, it is above all well-trained employees with expertise on which the company's success is based. In order to pass on the knowledge and be prepared for the future with junior staff, the freight forwarding company trains apprentices at an early stage. Today, there are over 20 apprentices per year in Germany and over 20 trainees globally.

The corporate values of respect and responsibility are particularly important in the dealings with employees. Great importance is attached to treating everyone as equals, promoting all colleagues and treating them with respect.
"The success of our company is directly linked to the many dedicated people, their commitment and their ideas. They make Fr. Meyer's Sohn what it is today," says Heiko Voigt, Managing Director/CEO of the company. 

With paper out into the world

In 1911, the company already has eleven employees and the first transports for the paper industry are successfully handled. After the end of the First World War, Ernst Meyer manages to rebuild the company and opens a branch in Lübeck in 1919. By the end of the 1930s, Fr. Meyer's Sohn already employs around 100 people and has 55 trucks under contract. The vehicles are mainly used to transport imported goods from the port of Hamburg to Saxony. On the way back, the wagons are loaded with paper. This is in response to the steadily increasing paper exports from paper mills in Saxony and Thuringia. After some time, significant overseas and England transports are handled by FMS with the Austrian paper industry. From 1964, Fr. Meyer's Sohn expands the branch network southwards and opens several branches in Spain. For the first time, FMS now also receives orders from overseas.


The container and General Cargo

The standardized container enters the transport industry in the 1970s. Fr. Meyer's Sohn is committed to this transport container from an early stage and consistently exploits its advantages.  

Activities in the paper business are being consistently expanded, particularly in Scandinavia. However, the company is not focusing solely on the paper business. The company is also expanding in the general cargo sector, for example by handling major projects.

History shows that there is no standstill at Fr. Meyer's Sohn. Today, the company has set the course to meet the current challenges and opportunities in the logistics market and the advancing digitalization. Processes and procedures are digitalized, intelligent platform systems for easy collaboration and processing as well as for analysis are available to customers.

The course is also clear in the company claim: Forwarding Business. "Our claim clearly reflects the core of our work and should also show that we want to further develop and promote companies. This applies both to ourselves and to our customers' businesses," Dominik Lucius, Managing Director/CFO, points out. 


For the customer on site

In order to be locally present for its customers with know-how, FMS has been expanding on a global level since the 1990s and now has over 50 offices in more than 20 countries, including offices in Belgium, Switzerland, Singapore, Turkey, China, the United Kingdom, the USA, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and India.

Thanks to lean structures, the global company can make quick decisions and successfully implement projects. Processes can be adapted flexibly and individually to customer needs and requirements thanks to agile working techniques.  


Tradition with open eyes

Today, FMS is an international transport and logistics company that is proud of its 125-year company history, accepts current challenges and actively shapes the future. Many years of expertise and modern entrepreneurial spirit determine the activities, not only in the forest products sector, but also in the transport of agricultural products, metal and minerals as well as FMCG articles and within the framework of projects from the mechanical engineering sector.

Traditionally, the company attaches great importance to industry, process and product knowledge. Due to the resulting proximity to customers and goods, the experienced employees know exactly which transport options are the right ones for the respective goods and requirements. The many digital possibilities of logistics are examined by experienced forwarders and, if found useful, used both for customers and internally. The SCM solution Cruise Control, which was developed in-house and is constantly being further optimized, supports customers in this respect in the management and optimization of logistics processes. 


*What does this Fr. in the company name stand for anyway?
Frau (women), Firma (company), Franz (German name)? 

Actually quite simple: In former times the first name of the grandfather and father was passed on to the children and since there was already a company in Hamburg with the name "Ernst Meyer", the name "Friedrich" of the grandfather and father of the founder Hugo Ernst Meyer as well as the addition "Sohn" for son were taken over into the company name from now on. 

Nadine Kinscher-Masur

Corporate Head of Marketing | Fr. Meyer's Sohn


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