3rd generation

Back to the roots


Due to irreconcilable differences with his uncle Andreas, Paul Rickmers leaves Rickmers Reismühlen, Rhederei und Schiffbau AG. He moves to Hamburg and in 1905 becomes a shareholder in Handelshaus Rickmers & Co.


German foreign trade is developing well, prompting Paul Rickmers to offer a regular service from Hamburg and Bremen to Vladivostok via Antwerp and Aden. The service of the “Rickmers Sibirien Linie” is opened by the steamship SOPHIE RICKMERS (3). After a lengthy conflict with his nephews Robert and Paul, Andreas Rickmers sells his shares in the family company to Sophie Rickmers, his widowed sister-in-law. This makes Peter Rickmers’ heirs the sole owners of the limited company.


As CEO, Paul Rickmers decides to move the head office from Bremerhaven to Hamburg. Furthermore, the name “Rickmers Reismühlen Rhederei und Schiffbau AG” is altered to “Rickmers Rhederei und Schiffbau AG”. Thus, the company’s new orientation is also represented in its new name.

1917 - 1922

Paul Rickmers takes over all shares in the company. 1920 marks the launch of the SOPHIE RICKMERS (fourth vessel with this name), which is built at Norddeutsche Werft mbH in Geestemünde. In 1922, it resumes the company's service to East Asia.


The festivities surrounding the company’s 100th anniversary last for two whole days: beginning at the Rickmers premises in Hamburg, the party moves over to Helgoland by way of the steamship RC RICKMERS, where a big celebration is held the following day.


The company is expanding again, the fleet is undergoing modernisation and there is demand for the formerly closed yard at Bremerhaven. After the equipment was updated 540 workers are hired for government orders concerning the construction of the German fishing fleet and the navy.

1940 - 1945

The Rickmers shipyard delivers the ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT, a research ship for the fishing industry, to the German Imperial Food Ministry. In the following years, it builds two series of minesweepers and several auxiliary vessels for the German Navy. As a result of the outbreak of war in Europe, East Asia is no longer on the shipping route since ships there are being confiscated or chartered out to Japan. Ships remaining in Europe are put into service on the Baltic Sea on route to Scandinavia. By 1945, the Rickmers fleet is decimated to only four of their own ships and an additional three ships allotted to them. Like the German Reich, the Rickmers shipping company is in ruins after the war. As early as June 1945, repairs are again carried out on ships. During the winter, circus wagons and peat excavators are being constructed. Rickmers-Linie, however, has to surrender all remaining vessels.


Paul Rickmers dies at the age of 73 in Clarens, his residence near Montreux on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, from where he has directed his company since the early 1930s. His three sons Peter, Bertram and Claus take over responsibility for the company. Peter and Claus dedicate themselves to the reconstruction of the shipping company, Bertram to the shipyard, which is in ruins.