iCON International – 25 years of success made in Hamburg


It was in 1999 that Achim Bunke, an economics graduate and trained forwarding agent, founded iCON with his Chinese partner Zheng Gong. Two dedicated men who were in the right place at the right time to get the boxes from A to B! The successful team has now been running iCON International for 25 years. The name says it all, because in addition to the home port of Hamburg, there are now locations in Asia, America and New Zealand.

Thanks to good contacts with Chinese container manufacturers, the first batch of 100 containers was produced in a very short time. Shortly afterwards, special equipment was ordered, which has since become part of iCON's standard programme. Achim Bunke emphasises: "Specialisation plays an important role for us - we have now creatively developed 70 different container types, which clearly sets us apart from the market.

A little anecdote in passing: around 15 years ago, iCON was a supplier of 300 containers that were converted into generators to supply the island of Cuba with electricity. After a holiday there, an employee brought back a 10 peso note on which exactly these containers were depicted. Even today, the small note is a highlight for iCON and is a source of joy and amazement.

It all started back then with a team of three, and now 17 employees work for the iCON Group.

Digital development has generally improved and simplified the work and a customised CMS (Container Management System) was tailored for iCON, which includes all essential work steps and differs significantly from other systems.

Achim Bunke explains that as a self-employed entrepreneur, you not only experience high points, but also times of crisis - stock market crashes, corona, wars and other conflicts are a particular challenge for us and the entire industry!

As a tip to younger company founders, the experienced entrepreneur says: "Think carefully if you want to start your own business. Have a good concept, be brave and go for it!"

He wants to pass on the following to his employees: "Hanseatic values such as cosmopolitanism, tolerance, liberalism and pragmatism. As an international company, we are also open-minded and we employ committed people from different national backgrounds.

We owe our success to our professional expertise in logistics, the contacts and relationships we have built up worldwide and our affinity with China. If you believed in the growth market of China 25 years ago, then you were backing the 'right horse', says Achim Bunke.

His forecast for the coming years is: "Globalisation will accelerate worldwide economic growth and this means that there will always be a need for containers.

"So we've done everything right so far and are looking forward to another successful 25 years!"

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