4 July 2018

C.Hartwig Gdynia, part of OT Logistics Capital Group: an innovative freight forwarder with a 160-year-old tradition

On July 1st, C.Hartwig Gdynia, one of leaders in the international container freight forwarding market in Poland, celebrated its 160th anniversary. On this occasion, in Gdynia, we may expect exhibitions related to the company’s history and its current operations.

In July 2018, C.Hartwig Gdynia, part of OT Logistics Capital Group, celebrates its 160th anniversary. The company’s roots reach back to the Grand Duchy of Posen. In the Period of the Polish People’s Republic it counted among the most important enterprises in the field of international freight forwarding and logistics, and today, thanks to merger and acquisition processes and to its being part of OT Logistics Capital Group, the company has won
a significant position among freight forwarders in Poland and Europe. C.Hartwig Gdynia’s subsidiaries operate in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, which makes handling freight sent by customers from and to Poland considerably easier.

“C.Hartwig Gdynia has a very strong position not only in the Polish market, but also in the region. We employ over 300 highly-qualified experts who assist out customers in carrying about 15 million tons of various cargo per year. We owe this market position to innovative solutions and flexibility in action, but we also remember our magnificent history, unique in the whole Europe,” Grzegorz Hinc, the President of the Management Board of C.Hartwig Gdynia, said.

“The history of our company is created by people. Some members of our team are the third generation working with our company, while others have been with us for almost 40 years. Their expertise, commitment and relationship with the company are the greatest asset of C.Hartwig Gdynia,” Grzegorz Hinc adds.

“We would like to use this anniversary to tell the residents of Gdynia about our history and show them archival photos and items connected with our activities during a few decades. Many of these materials have been provided by our employees, who still strongly identify with the company and support us with their knowledge about the development of C.Hartwig Gdynia. Along the way, we’ve come to know that seniors, former employees, meet regularly in their own circle and get on very well,” Mirosława Klas, responsible for organising exhibitions related to C.Hartwig Gdynia, says.

The History of C.Hartwig Gdynia

On July 1st, 1858, Carl Hartwig, a citizen of the Grand Duchy of Posen, established a small tannery. Enterprising Hartwig took advantage of favourable conditions for economic development in the region. In the following years, the regular growth of agriculture, industry and trade resulted in a demand for transportation services. Experts on transport-related laws and practices, transportation and customs tariffs as well as in science of commodities were much sought after. Carl Hartwig decided to meet these needs. Soon, the freight forwarding company C.Hartwig cooperated with railway companies, delivering goods to railway stations and picking them up from there. It also rendered services consisting in goods packaging and storage or delivery of building materials and fuel, but specialised also in removals. Once a fleece fair had started in Poznań, C.Hartwig joined the event organisation. Among other things, it was connected with wool shipment and storage in warehouses built specially for this purpose.

After the founder’s death, his work was continued by subsequent owners. The next stage of the Company’s history is connected with Poland’s regained independence. In December 1918, the Company was acquired by Polish authorities. In the following years, branches in Warsaw, Cracow, Katowice and Lviv were opened. The Company had its offices also in Austria and Germany, and its representatives could be found in almost every European country.

A key event for the Company was the construction of the port in Gdynia. C.Hartwig has been present there since 1926; as early as in 1929 the Company handled 11% of the Polish international trade, providing also brokerage services. The Company’s development was interrupted by the World War II.

The nationalised Company was reactivated on May 15th, 1945, and between May and June of the same year it returned to Gdynia, carrying out freight forwarding activities (which covered also the port of Gdańsk). In 1960s, C.Hartwig cooperated with the port of Gdynia to implement containerization. In July 1965, the branch in Gdynia arranged for the first meat deliveries to the United Kingdom in 20’ refrigerated containers, and in 1968 the Ministry of International Trade bought, on the initiative of C.Hartwig, the first 100 containers, which were handed over to PLO (Polish Ocean Lines). The Company’s important role in the container transport development was confirmed by the MIT’s decision, as in 1971 it appointed the Company – back then C.Hartwig Gdynia already – to act as the main international freight forwarder in the field of container transport.

The contemporary stage of the Company’s development started on July 1st, 1995, when C.Hartwig Gdynia S.A. was subject to conversion into a joint-stock company wholly owned by the State Treasury. Only a few months later C.Hartwig Gdynia, as the first from the C.Hartwig group, became a private joint-stock company. At this moment a new stage of the history of C.Hartwig Gdynia S.A. began, one inseparable from the Company’s rapid development and its activities in the international market.

In 2014, the Company became a part of a strong Polish capital group, OT Logistics Capital Group, which opened not only a new stage of its history, but also offered a range of new opportunities. In 2016, the process of a merger between C.Hartwig Gdynia and the booming company Sealand Logistics started, and was completed at the beginning of 2018.


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