Dr. Steffen Kammradt: Brandenburg’s growing industrial belt around Berlin

At times, the metropolis of Berlin with its millions of inhabitants blocks the view on the considerable developments in Brandenburg. Especially the industrial location around the country’s capital are constantly growing.

In 2015, reunited Germany celebrates its 25th anniversary – and at the same time, the state of Brandenburg celebrates the 25th anniversary of its re-founding. Two causes for joy in Germany’s capital region. However, Brandenburg has one more reason to rejoice: the state’s economy is booming, international companies settle in the region or expand their sites and new technologies are developed in medium-sized businesses. The driving force behind this development is industry. This comes as no surprise, since Brandenburg sur­­­rounds the Berlin metropolis like a broad industrial belt. Well connected due to the motorway ring and the star-shaped motorway corridors. Thanks to them, all regions in Brandenburg are very well connected – and from them, all important eco­nomic regions in Europe can be reached quickly.

“Industry experiences renaissance in Brandenburg” – that was the headline of a renowned daily newspaper in Brandenburg after the annual results for 2014 was presented by the ZAB ZukuntsAgentur Brandenburg GmbH (Brandenburg Economic Development Board, ZAB). The result of the ZAB is clear: One in every two jobs connected to company projects supported by ZAB was in the industry. Industry projects account for two-thirds of the total with an investment volume of 824 million euros. In all regions in the state, important new settlements and company expansions are responsible these numbers. New companies in the capital region include, for example, the factory of a German fire protection specialist or the production facility of the Canadian automotive supplier Proseat, directly at the BASF site in southern Brandenburg, in a region called Lausitz (Lusatia). The ZF group is expanding the transmission production in Brandenburg an der Havel and the international pharmaceuticals group Takeda, is expanding its pill production in Oranienburg, north of Berlin. With this, the upwards trend in industry continues in Brandenburg.

25 years after German unity, Brandenburg has transformed into a modern quality location of innovative industries with high international appeal – it was honoured as Germany’s most dynamic business region three times in a row! “Strengthen strengths”, the state’s strategy in terms of economic policy has provided targeted support for this boom. Strengthen strengths means putting the emphasis on regional business promotion and on the 15 strongest centres of growth and the most promising sectors in every industry, for example auto­­motive, aviation, nutrition, metals, synthetic materials and chemistry or energy tech­­nology – to name just a few. The focus on a total of nine strong growth clusters is paying off – for the com­­panies, the employees and the entire state.

How does this development become visible? Let’s be more specific: Brandenburg has long since become an automobile state – with global players such as Mercedes or VW and many suppliers, which in turn are world market lead­­ers: ZF, Finow Auto­motive, Mahle, Schmidt Maschinenbau, the Böllhoff group or Weber Automotive. Whether transmissions, crankshafts, interior trim or bodywork – today almost every car driven on German roads has a piece of Brandenburg inside. A further example for the strong growth and innovative strength is aeronautic engineering. With companies such as Rolls Royce, MTU and AneCom Aero Test, an “aeronautics belt” has established itself south of Berlin; a competence cluster specialising in the development of state-of-the-art technologies for engines and turbines. In the meantime, Siemens has also built a testing centre for gas turbines and combustion engines in this belt.

This positive development acts like a turbocharger. With the industrial growth and the positive geostrategic location, Brandenburg has been experiencing a downright boom in logistics over the past years. Especially freight transport centres all around Berlin and directly at the border to Poland in Frankfurt (Oder) are booming. New sites, such as the harbour Wittenberge on the Elbe river, benefit from the Hamburg seaport hinterland transport or use, like Forst (Lausatia) with customs clearance directly at the location of the German-Polish border, the favourable access to markets in Central and Eastern Europe. 10 years ago, Brandenburg and Berlin only ranked in the middle of the field for German logistics regions; now­­adays they are among the top locations. The list of com­panies located there reads like a who’s who of the German and European logistics sector. Additionally, the shooting stars of e-commerce, such as Amazon or Zalando, are also settling in Brandenburg with huge logistics centres.

But the success of the region around the German capital has not come overnight: it is the result of hard work, because the inhabitants of Brandenburg have stepped up to the challenges, which resulted from the economic turmoil in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. After the difficult period in the early 1990s, Brandenburg today offers excellent location conditions for companies: from a dense motorway network, excellent connections, industrial and commercial properties of all locations and at favourable terms.

In addition, there is a new service for companies: as the first state in Germany, Brandenburg offers a complete consultancy package covering business and labour from a single source. This means first-class service for specialists, jobs and qualification. The state has brought together the competencies of the ZukunfsAgentur Brandenburg business promotion and the business promotion bank ILB. Together they form Brandenburg’s “One Stop Agency” for business and labour. This is a unique feature, and it is what companies appreciate about this region. After all, this service is supposed to help them – for more growth in the state of Brandenburg.

Dr. Steffen KammradtKammradt-Druck
The certified political scientist (born in 1966) held a management position in the Press and Public Relations department for the Berlin Senator for Finance from 1991 until 1995. He subsequently worked as marketing manager at Herlitz Falkenhöh AG and the ZAB ZuknftsAgentur Brandenburg GmbH and as press spokesman for the Brandenburg Economics Minister. Since 2008, Dr. Steffen Kammradt has been Managing Director of the ZAB ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg GmbH.