Flotte Hamburg GmbH & Co. KG

Ships belonging to the river police, fire-fighting vessels, dredgers, barges and lots more – there are plenty of ships united under one flag: the Flotte Hamburg (Hamburg fleet). Being a GmbH & Co. KG, it is a 100% subsidiary to fulfil the integral fleet management of the ships of the Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg.

Learn about what belongs to the fleet, what’s its drive, why it’s a pioneer in environmental protection, who charters their ships and lots more.

OUR TIP: Check out our Interview “People at the HPA” with the managing directors of the Hamburg fleet Christopher Braun and Karsten Schönewald. Click here.


By Karsten Schönewald, Managing Director of Flotte Hamburg

A typical working day at Flotte Hamburg begins in the morning hours with the departure of the various ships for site and survey work, inspection tours and support for maintenance units. The pilot transfer service is active around the clock bringing the Elbe and port pilots to and from the oceangoing ships. The cable grab dredger, and its logistics chain with tugs and barges, works in two shifts. This means our ships are out and about at any time of the day and everywhere within the port.

The administration of Flotte, which is headquartered at Überseebrücke and in the Speicherstadt, ensures smooth operations and is available at all times as a contact person for customers. The bareboat charter customers, such as the police and fire brigade, crew their ships using their own personnel and leverage Flotte’s technical or operational service network as needed. What’s more, projects centring on the further development of Flotte, as well as ongoing communication with suppliers and partners, are also part of the working day.

[Translate to English:] HPA Fleetmanagement Fleet Ship
Fleet ship


Flotte Hamburg is a full service provider who charters out vehicles and equipment in bareboat charter or with qualified personnel. How did it become established? What exactly does it do? Who is behind it all? 
Read the answers here.

... go back to a senate resolution from April 2016. The senate agreed to a fusion of the various fleets of HPA, the fire brigade, water police and LSBG (Agency of Roads, Bridges and Water) into a cross-city fleet management under the direction of HPA. At the same time, the fleet management had the responsibility to renew Hamburg’s fire-fighting boat fleet. After about a one-year project phase, the preparations were completed, so that the fleet management could start up operations on 1 July 2017. To enable independent and entrepreneur-like business as far as possible, as well as to ensure high transparency, the fleet management was founded as a subsidiary of HPA under the company Flottenmanagement GmbH & Co. KG. 

... of Flotte Hamburg is to operate and charter out ships and floating units with or without personnel. We view ourselves as a cross-entity fleet manager for the inland waterway vessels of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. We stand for high availability, transparency and cost stability, and we create added value by leveraging synergies. On top of this, we see ourselves as a pioneer in environmental protection and are striving for rapid digitalisation. 

... consists of about 50 ships at the moment. With just a few exceptions, these are inland waterway vessels of the Port of Hamburg. Furthermore, we operate two floating dredgers and a barge vacuuming station, as well as 40 barges. 

... make up a team of about 140 staff members. The majority consist of the crew, in other words captains and on-board mechanics. These employees work 365 days a year, around the clock, to keep the Port of Hamburg running smoothly. A small, efficient team takes care of disposal, maintenance management, new building projects and administration. 
You can find the organigram here.


At the same time of the senate resolution, the city’s fleet management made a civic request with the aim of structuring the fleet to take on a pioneering role in environmentally friendly operations. Flotte Hamburg is facing this challenge with a 5-pillar concept: 

The first pillar focuses on innovative fuels. For instance, we have switched to GTL (gas to liquid) for a majority of the fleet. This fuel emits less sulphur oxide than diesel and sets off significantly less particulate matter. 

The second pillar covers the principle of only building ships in future which have an extensive exhaust gas treatment system. As a result, the new fire-fighting boat is only being delivered with a particulate matter filter and a catalytic converter. 

In this third pillar, we handle exhaust gas treatment systems for existing ships. 

The fourth pillar centres on innovative propulsion concepts. In concrete terms, the two new small fire-fighting boat will most likely be equipped with battery-backed, diesel-electric hybrid propulsion. We are also thinking about fully electric barges as well as methanol engines and fuel cells. 

The fifth pillar focuses on environmentally friendly ship operations. For instance, we have already begun to school our captains in energy-efficient sailing. 


Christopher Braun gained extensive experience working in various leadership functions in both the Berlin and Hamburg administrations. Before switching to Flotte Hamburg, he worked in the Berlin State Chancellery for 18 years, followed by heading Hamburg’s state representation towards the federal government. After this, he switched to the head of office in the Hamburg Ministry for Economic, Transport and Innovation Affairs, where he was responsible for the ministry’s personnel, finances and investment management, amongst others. 

Christopher Braun took over as Chairman of the Management Board on 1 August 2017 and, together with his management board colleague, Karsten Schönewald, he leads the business of the company. 

Furthermore, Christopher Braun is also a member of the Management Board of CGH Cruise Gate Hamburg GmbH (www.cruisegate-hamburg.de).

Tel. +49 40 4 28 47-52 97

E-Mail: flotte@hpa.hamburg.de


After completing his studies at the University of Cassel, the qualified engineer and welding engineer had various stops in the infrastructure segment of Deutsche Bahn AG, lastly in the management of DB Netz AG in North Rhine-Westphalia. At the end of 2009, he switched to HPA and was responsible there for the area of railway technology, with the monitoring and implementation of maintenance and the replacement investments of Hamburg’s port railway. At the same time, he headed the Spreehafen Project from 2010 to 2014, focusing on the new building of the central maintenance station and workshop for the port railway. In May 2016, he took over the management of the HPA’s fleet and at the same time was responsible for the development and implementation of the cross-entity fleet management of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as project head. 

In July 2017, Karsten Schönewald was appointed Managing Director of Flotte Hamburg GmbH & Co. KG.

Tel. +49 40 4 28 47-52 97

E-Mail: flotte@hpa.hamburg.de

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