Holger Banik: bremenports is looking ahead: More containers and a new offshore terminal

Container terminal Bremerhaven: Europe’s longest continous container wharf.

Container terminal Bremerhaven: Europe’s longest continous container wharf.

The continent’s largest car port; number four in Europe for container turnover; a high-performance hub for cargo of all kinds; on the way to becoming a leading centre for offshore wind energy logistics – these points show that Bremen’s ports are enjoying remarkable develop­­ment. With their successful work, BLG Logistics Group, Eurogate and other pow­­er­­ful logistics companies represent this ongoing boom on Bremen’s wharves. 2011 was the best year in the port’s his­­tory, but the sector is not resting on its laurels just yet. The twin ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven want to expand their market position and are now aiming for a turnover of 100 million tonnes.

Bremen’s ports have overcome the eco­­nomic crisis. The total turnover in Bremen and Bremerhaven reached a record result of 85 million tonnes last year. At 5.3 per cent, the increase was above average and provided further evidence that the consequences of the global economic crisis of 2009 have finally been overcome at Bremen’s ports.

Container turnover rose from 5.9 to 6.3 million TEU (standard containers) in 2012, an increase of 6.3 per cent. Because its competitors in North-Western Europe – Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg – did not enjoy such strong growth, Bremer­­haven’s container port was able to achieve gains in market share in these standard­­ised containers. A top result of around 2.2 million units was achieved in car turn­­over which, like container turnover, is con­centrated in the Bremerhaven port in the state of Bremen. The increase was around five per cent.

The growth in sea cargo turnover in Bre­­men’s ports is expected to continue in 2013. At the same time, the number of people employed in maritime logistics increased considerably. But it would be negligent to stop here. That’s why the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen will continue to invest appropriately in the mo­­d­­ern­­isation of the port infrastructure in the future.

Car hub: More than two million vehicles are turned over in Bremerhaven every year.

Car hub: More than two million vehicles are turned over in Bremerhaven every year.

Logisticians face a challenge in the ex­­pansion of port railway. With the large-scale projects in Bremer­­haven – Container Terminal 4, completed in 2008, and the Kaiserschleuse lock (2011) – the Senate has already created important conditions for strengthening the logistics location in recent years. In the next few years, the focus will switch to investment in the port rail­­way. How­­ever, this does not release the federal govern­­ment and Deutsch Bahn AG from their obli­­gation to invest more funds, more quickly in the expansion of transport routes which connect the world ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven to their hinterlands.

With investment in new tracks and tech­­­­ni­­cal measures, Bremen will prepare Bre­­mer­­­­haven’s car and container port for the strong growth expected at the mouth of the Weser. The figures are al­­ready clear. In Winter 2010/2011, 430 freight trains were on the move on the port rail­­way’s tracks in Bremerhaven every week, including 270 container and 140 car trains. By 2011, this num­­ber had already increased to 570 trains per week.

The port railway is to be prepared quickly for further increases in transport quan­tities. As a first step, bremenports is intending to lengthen the tracks at Kaiser­­hafen station to up to 750 metres. The tracks will also be electrified. The new ca­­pacity is intended to ensure that significantly more car trains can be processed. At the same time, it will decrease the pressure on other track groups which are allocated to container transport. The building measures will involve costs of around eight million euros and implemen­­tation is planned by 2015. The shunting radio system of Bremen’s port railways will also be extensively modernised from 2012, also at a cost of millions.

New loading system for offshore wind technology. At the same time, the port and business location is setting its sights on renewable energies and is thus reinventing itself to a certain extent. The up-and-coming offshore wind energy industry has created over 2,000 jobs in Bremer­­­haven in recent years – and its development has only just begun. Industry and logistics are now waiting for a new loading system, which is to be built on the banks of the Weser, in front of the fishing port. The Offshore Terminal Bremer­­haven (OTB) is scheduled to begin operations 2016.

 The 25-hectare facility is to offer man­ufacturers and heavy goods logistics pro­­viders the ideal conditions for pre-­assem­­bly and fast and efficient loading for off­­shore wind energy systems. The pro­­ject will give new impetus to the economy and labour market in the region. Prognos AG is predicting thousands of new jobs. The ins­­titute antici­pates that an average of 600 new offshore wind energy systems will be built every year in Belgium, Denmark, Ger­­many, Great Britain and the Nether­­lands by 2040. With their work on the terminal project, the engineers and port and environ­­men­­tal planners from bremenports are mak­­ing a significant contribution to the re­­gion’s economic future – and to the transition to alternative energies in Germany.

(präferiert!)-DSC_1665-KopieThe author was born in Bremen. He stu­­died Business Administration in Gießen and Marburg. Between 1996 and 2007, Banik held various positions in Goods Transport at Deutsche Bahn. Holger Banik has worked for bremenports since 2007. Together with Robert Howe, he is managing director of bremenports GmbH Co. KG.