The Bremen Cotton Exchange

“The purpose of the legally responsible economic association existing under the name of Bremen Cotton Exchange by virtue of state conferral is to safeguard and promote the interests of all parties involved in the trade in and processing and finishing of cotton and cotton products as well as other textile fibers and textile fiber products.”

This is the first paragraph of our Articles of Association. For 150 years, the Bremen Cotton Exchange has represented its members from Germany, the rest of Europe and overseas under this guiding principle. Our headquarters is the Hanseatic City of Bremen, where the cotton trade has a long tradition.

History of the Bremen Cotton Exchange

  • 1608: Founding of the guild of tree silk makers in Bremen, Germany
  • 1857: Bremen import port becomes most important transshipment point for the cotton industry in Germany due to connection to German rail network and improved freight rates
  • 1872: Bremen Cotton Exchange founded as “Committee for the Cotton Trade” by cotton merchants and cotton brokers (later joined by: banks, shipowners, freight forwarders, spinning mills, insurers); creation of the Cotton Usances, from which the terms of the Bremen Cotton Exchange emerged
  • 1873:
    – Arbitration: first documented arbitration decision based on the provisions for the cotton trade
    – Arbitration: sworn classifiers Wolff and Sloman classify nearly 147,000 bales
  • 1886: Association of South German Cotton Industrialists joins, followed by other spinning associations
  • 1889: Awarded legal capacity by the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
  • 1894: Accession of the Austrian cotton industry with a seat on the board;
    More than 1 million bales landed in Bremen for the first time
  • 1900: Laying of the foundation stone of the stock exchange building; Inauguration in 1902
  • 1903: Imports of over 1.9 million bales of cotton to Bremen, of which 1.8 million bales are arbitraged by the Bremen Cotton Exchange; now 449 members
  • 1906: Swiss Spinners’, Twisters’ and Weavers’ Association joins the exchange with a seat on the board of directors
  • 1912: Largest import through Bremen: 2.8 million bales
  • 1914: Opening of the Bremen Cotton Futures Exchange
  • 1927: Import of 2.6 million bales via Bremen
  • 1946: Resumption of cotton imports with 250,000 bales, mostly from U.S. government stocks
  • 1950: Import via Bremen again over 1 million bales
  • 1954: Cotton imports liberalized
  • 1955: Establishment of the Bremen Cotton Exchange laboratory
  • 1956: Bremen Cotton Futures Exchange reopened
  • 1957: Import of 1.7 million bales of cotton
  • 1961: Completion of the parking garage
  • 1963: New version of the conditions of the Bremen Cotton Exchange put into effect
  • 1964: 1st International Cotton Test Conference
  • 1969: Founding of the Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (Bremen Fiber Institute)
  • 1971: Closure of the Bremen Cotton Futures Exchange, as the hedging business had become more difficult due to monetary influences and governmental measures
  • 1975: The fiber testing laboratory of the Bremen Cotton Exchange becomes a “Designated Laboratory” of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • 1987: Over 1.5 million bales landed in Bremen
  • 1989: Integration of the Bremen Cotton Exchange laboratory into Faserinstitut Bremen e.V.
  • 1997: 125th anniversary of the Bremen Cotton Exchange
  • 2000: 25th International Cotton Conference
  • 2005: Adoption of the EU Community Trademark “International Cotton Mark”
  • 2006: The Bremen Cotton Exchange adopts the Liverpool Rules of the International Cotton Association (ICA), Liverpool, with the aim of uniform rules for the cotton trade worldwide
  • 2009: Reopening of the Cotton and Wool Laboratory at the Cotton Exchange
  • 2010: 30th International Cotton Conference
  • 2011: Foundation of the International Cotton Association Quality and Research Center Bremen GmbH (ICA Bremen); making Bremen the international center for cotton testing and research, quality training and certification
  • 2014: The Bremen Cotton Exchange becomes one of the founding members of the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles called for by German Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller
  • 2015: Inauguration of the new testing laboratory of ICA Bremen during the 141st General Assembly of the Bremen Cotton Exchange by Federal Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller
  • 2021: Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Bremen International Cotton Conference is held completely online for the first time – with great success

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