Dr. Lüder Hogrefe: Maritime economy – Innovation by tradition, in the land between the seas

Towards the beginning of the 20th cen­tury, the conquest of the Artic continent was of prime interest for research. The first Polar Conference took place in Vienna and a student of art history, to the name of Hermann Anschütz-Kämpfe, listened in fascination to reports over the tribulation of the expeditions – how sailing ships should come as close to the geographical North Pole as possible through the pack ice.

Anschütz-Kämpfe inherited a great fortune from his adoptive parents and want­­ed to invest this in the service of science – a trip to the North Pole was in its planning stage. In search of a suitable ship, Anschütz-Kämpfe travelled, among other places, to Schleswig-Holstein and made an astounding discovery at the Kiel­ Fjord. It was exactly here that Kiel’s Germania shipyard was testing out a new typ of sub called the Forelle, for the Tsar of Russia.


A new vision was born – all the hard toil of crossing the pack ice suddenly be­­came seemingly avoidable through a com­­fortable journey in a submarine. Why not travel below the surface of the ice and come close up at the North Pole? The shipyard directors were quite surprised when a private person showing interest appeared before them with what today we would call great skills in problem solving.

A journey beneath ice is, in itself, no great difficulty. Yet, how could one find ones way to the North Pole in a steel tube, with only the navigation tools, like the magnetic compass, as available to­­wards the end of the 19th century? How was one supposed to navigate safely through the sea, when the compass needle could only follow the gridlines of the Earth’s magnetic fields and would thus only point downwards when close to the magnetic pole?

Anschütz-Kämpfe was confronted with a serious problem – despite the innovative submarine, the difficulty of na­­vi­­gation remained unsolved with re­­gards to both the underwater journey and the area of the ocean in question. He, who meanwhile was a graduated in the field of art historian, now devoted him­­self to physics and mechanical en­­gi­­neering. Foucault’s pendulum, which today can be seen in the German Mu­­seum in Mu­­nich alongside Anschütz’s dis­­coveries, carved the path for him. The apparatus consists of a pendulum free to oscillate in any vertical plane. The direction along which the pendulum swings rotates with time because of Earth’s daily rotation.

In 1905, Anschütz-Kämpfe patented his gyroscopic compass and went into production at his first founded works in Kiel, near the old Town Hall. Further in­­novations followed, such as the autopilot and the mechanical map printer, which revolutionized navigation on sea-going vessels and even today form the basis of independent navigation with optic and mechanical points and state-of-the-art micro electronics, which unlike GPS or the Galileo software are not dependent upon satellites in the Earth’s orbit.


Nonetheless it took until the 3rd Au­­gust 1958 for the atomic submarine Nau­­tilus to reach the American marine base at the North Pole, which with the competition of defence of the times was a demonstra­­tion of technological lead­ership against the Soviets and therefore a similar dem­­onstration of power and demand as when a Russian re­­­search submarine set its flag on the ground of the ocean at the North Pole one year ago.
Yet, back to Anschütz-Kämpfe in the 20s and 30s, who with his Anschütz works in Kiel-Neumühlen became an innovation drive for the whole region. An­­schütz-Kämp­­fe financed the development of the echo sounding and discussed the considerations of using a horizontally-directed sound impulse for detecting ice bergs with his friend Albert Einstein, who was just in­­tensively occupied with the analysis of the gyroscopic compass, following the sinking of the MS Titanic. After the Echo­­lot, the Sonar was developed by the for­­mer Signal Gmbh in Neu­­feldt­­haus of the Holtenauer Straße in Kiel. Their tech­­nological successor, L-3 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ELAC Nautik GmbH, is a resident of the Kieler Fjord, as are Ray­theon An­­schütz GmbH and HDW, which belong to TKMS and are suppliers of today’s most modern and efficient con­­ventional submarines.

The pioneering spirit of the earlier part of the 20th century continued in the land between the oceans well into the new millennium. So what’s the explanation? What are the pre-requisites for such success and how can the leading position be ex­­pand­­ed on in numerous market segments of the maritime economy?

Supported by the Hansa, Schleswig-Hol­­stein is a classical location for the con­struction of ships. Unlike the trade in the Hanseatic cities, “handicraft” do­­mi­nated the flatlands and the striving after technology the cities, which should make the product “ship” more efficient and should alleviate the work of ship-owners. The state’s universities and Universities of applied sciences delivered scientific foundations and still today support the development of technologies re­­quired for a wide range of maritime applications.



The demands of the market have thus pro­moted ship construction. In this en­­vironment suppliers and maritime science flourish. In a global world, one could say that the local proximity of ship construc­­tion, the supply industry, ocean technol­ogy and science can be done without and that it could be replaced by world-wide networks. In ship construction, lo­­cal prox­­i­­m­­ity (often known as cluster), how­­ever, is a guarantee for success. Ships are unique compared to airplanes or automobiles. The construction of four same frigates or ten container ships, for ex­­ample, already counts as a “serial” con­­struction.

Related to the limited number of units that are made during the production phase, the cost of development is huge and only comparable to that of space travel. The structures of develop­ment must therefore be extremely effi­cient.

Short distances and mutual understand­­ing from both sides, the build-up of joint standards at the relevant headquarters and trust in joint success on the world trade markets all mark the maritime economy of Schleswig-Holstein.

So is it really of any wonder that one can not only find the largest community stand, with its black, red and gold revenue seal, at the leading Asian ma­­r­­­­i­­time fair in Shanghai, China, but also all companies from Schleswig-Hol­­stein, ranging from winch and motor producers, news technicians, ship auto­­mation and energy technology companies and software suppliers for specific shipping solutions all the way through to system integrators and shipyards?
Regardless of whether a modern ferry for the regular service of the Canadian Pacific coast, a double covered tanker for the Seychelles or a submarine for South Korea – for the global clientele, Schleswig-Holstein is a region that is also considered a guarantee for system solutions of highest integration demand.

Of the round 46,000 employees in the maritime economy of the land bet­ween the seas, nearly every second per­­son is engaged in ship construction, shipp­­ing or the supply industry. The main fo­­cus within these segments is on export, which shows a considerable potential for growth despite the current financial cri­­sis and recession.



The SUGAR project: The storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in exchange for the extraction of methane (CH4) and hydrated gas.

The marine, with nearly 10,000 employees and the entire maritime-related tour­­ism branch with 2,000 employees en­­courage the demand for goods in the state and are important partners of the maritime association economy. Yet the relevance of individual segments with­­in the market is not alone determined by turnover figures and the number of occupied persons. For, the role of the national economy of local maritime re­­search institutes and their numerous corresponding smaller companies deal­­ing in ocean and offshore technology is not only of existential significance for the future of the land between the oceans.

The Universities of applied sciences in the far North have an excellent reputation that reaches well beyond the borders of the state and do more than just pre­­pare graduates for duties within the economy – hardly a sailing regatta of global importance where either tear or setting of sail were investigated by lo­­cal experts. The automatic rig of the by far most spectacular sailing yacht of modern times, the Maltese Falcon, of course stemmed from the University of applied sciences of Kiel. In comparison, Flens­burg is a strong fort in the education of nautical experts and electricians of shipping.
The state’s universities are re­­nown­­ed in medicine, medical technology, bio­­­technology and oceanic sciences through­­out the world – subjects which are all taught at Leibniz Institute. Glo­­b­­al warming is presumably the great­­est challenge for mankind to­­wards the beginning of the new mil­­lennium. Yet every challenge also brings about new opportunities. Leibniz Ins­­titute holds a leading position in oce­­ano­graphy, sea geology and sea tech­­nology. Not only models of climate are developed and verified here. The institute also works on concrete so­­lutions, for example. for the deposit of carbon dioxide and for the sustain­­able use of energy resources of the world’s oceans.

Also here, one can easily say that ma­­r­­itime research in the northernmost federal state is tops and an es­­sential organ as a “think tank” of ma­­ritime as­­sociation economy in Schles­wig-Holstein.

Unbenannt-1The author was born in Wilhelmshaven in 1955. He held leading positions at Honey­­­­well, Allied Signal and L-3 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and was the business director of L-3 Communications ELAC Nautik GmbH for eleven years. Dr. Hogrefe possesses a wide range of experience in the industries of marine/defence and ship construction supply. He has been the managing direc­­tor of Raytheon Anschütz in Kiel since November 2004.