It is a long and eventful company history which characterises Am Zehnhoff-Söns today. When we speak of tradition, we mean this: we retain the best from past decades; we have the courage to do this time and again; and we are determined to master every challenge and to continue to take the same pleasure in logistics which has driven our family for over 100 years in order to lead the company to success.
At this point we would like to give you an overview of our company, which has been established for more than 100 years.
At the age of 28 August am Zehnhoff founds a company in Bonn for “freight forwarding, barge transportation and warehousing”. While office and warehouse facilities are located at Römerstraße 45–53, barge-handling is undertaken at the associated Handelswerft near the present Beethoven Halle in Bonn.
August am Zehnhoff becomes agent for well-known Rhine carriers, enabling him to cover the whole extent of the Rhine from Rotterdam to Basel under his freight concept.
The new Port of Bonn at Bonn- Graurheindorf is founded. August am Zehnhoff acquires real property and builds his first warehouse in the port precinct.
Frequent bombing during the 2nd World War destroys significant parts of the company’s movable and immovable facilities. Shortly before the end of the war the unthinkable happens: August falls into the hands of the Gestapo and is never seen again. His widow Anna becomes the new owner and starts to rebuild the ruined company.
As a result of fraudulent activities the company is threatened with collapse. The owner calls upon her son in-law, Wilhelm Söns, who is working in Hannover and is married to her daughter Louise, to take over the management of the company. Wilhelm Söns sees it as his duty to do so. 1961 Anna am Zehnhoff dies. After a lengthy dispute over the estate Louise Am Zehnhoff- Söns subsequently becomes the legal owner.
Business continuously improves; the company expands its market position and makes the first major investments in the truck-fleet.
The August am Zehnhoff Company takes over the port forwarder Halm und Richrath GmbH and integrates this into the Am Zehnhoff-Söns company group.
The company expands further and moves its office from Römerstrasse to a newly built office building at the Port of Bonn.
To meet market requirements and concentrate synergies the Am Zehnhoff-Söns Container GmbH and the Am Zehnhoff- Söns Verkehrs GmbH are founded. Under the management of Wilhelm Söns his two sons Gregor and Alfons act as authorised representatives for these companies.
Louise Am Zehnhoff-Söns retires as owner and transfers her shares to her sons Gregor Söns and Alfons Söns. At same time the companies are merged: Am Zehnhoff-Söns Container GmbH and Am Zehnhoff-Söns Verkehrs GmbH are merged to form Am Zehnhoff-Söns GmbH International Logistic Services. Gregor and Alfons Söns assume the company management.
The August am Zehnhoff individual company transfers the operational business to Am Zehnhoff-Söns GmbH International Logistic Services and converts to a partnership. From then on the partnership acts as a holding company, with Wilhelm, Gregor and Alfons Söns as shareholders.
Am Zehnhoff-Söns GmbH and Stadtwerke Bonn GmbH found the Bonner Hafenbetriebe GmbH as a public private partnership. Am Zehnhoff-Söns takes over the operational port management.
To strengthen its East Asia business Am Zehnhoff-Söns enters into a joint venture in China. On June 2nd the company celebrates its first centenary at a morning ceremony at the Maritim Hotel and an evening event on board the MS Rheinenergie with more than 500 guests.
The upward trend continues unbroken at the port, with turnover and employee numbers growing. Over €16 million is being invested in the new container terminal. Ludger Söns, the son of Louise Am Zehnhoff-Söns and Wilhelm Söns, has now entered the family business, bringing with him invaluable practical and engineering knowhow. In a move to preserve the family tradition, Alfons Söns will be changing his name to Alfons Am Zehnhoff-Söns.
The expansion at the port will be concluded with a presentation ceremony in the summer of 2012. Joined by trade and political representatives, the managing board will be presenting the new technical features. High sheet piling was rammed into 100 metres of bankside, surfaces reinforced, and a second container bridge built. Containers areas were enlarged and the inclined bank converted into a high top bank. Now, the Port of Bonn can berth end to end three modern Rhine ships each 135 m long, and some sections even allow ship to ship handling. The desperately needed capacities at the Bonn Rhine terminal are now available, and the port is best equipped for the future.
The Am Zehnhoff-Söns Group is continuing to expand: In March 2014, the trimodal terminal in Metz launched the Multi Modal Shuttle, a new scheduled container service by barge on the Mosel.
On 17 February 2015, Louise Am Zehnhoff-Söns, Senior Manager and daughter of the founder August am Zehnhoff, died at the age of 89. Her ownership from 1961 to 2002 laid the foundations for the growth and size of the AZS Group. In the same year, another terminal in Trier will be joining the portfolio on the Mosel. AZS has hence created a link between the Mosel ports and the major port areas in Northern Europe, and therefore a competitive alternative for the industry, trade, and logistics sectors. Also in 2015, the new air cargo office at the Troisdorf-Spich cargo centre commenced offering a wide range of air cargo services as a neutral handling office at Cologne Bonn airport. In addition, the end of the year will see the opening of a new Hamburg branch that will be able to meet the intermodal needs of our international agents and customers to even greater precision.