BUSINESS PRACTISE. Unique Multimodality – Saxony-Anhalt Scores Points as a Multimodal Logistics Hub in the Heart of Europe


‘Clever logistics is a crucial condition for the success in the competition of regions. This is why Saxony-Anhalt is in an excellent position for its function as a multi-modal logistics hub.’

Thomas Webel, Minister of Regional Development and Transport of Saxony-Anhalt

At the Hafenhinterland Conference 2018 in the Bauhaus city of Dessau-Roßlau, experts discussed current challenges for the future of the logistics industry.

Around 100 logistics experts from six European countries discussed future solutions for port hinterland traffic in Dessau-Roßlau. Saxony-Anhalt is very well-positioned as a trailblazer. The federal state has developed into an important logistics hub in the heart of Europe, connecting freight traffic by rail, road and inland navigation.


Multimodal logistics hub Saxony-Anhalt

‘The multi-modality of Saxony-Anhalt is unique’, summed up Johannes Jähn, Managing Director of Leipzig / Halle Airport, Spokesman of the Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG and member of the Logistics Advisory Council Saxony-Anhalt, in his presentation at the third Hafenhinterland Conference. The expert meeting focussed on the topic of ‘Multimodal logistics hub Saxony-Anhalt’. According to the airport chief, being in the middle of Europe enables the federal state to cover both East and West Europe equally, becoming the hub of many trans-European transport axes. Moreover, ‘the currently existing most frequent railway connections between China and Western Europe leads through Saxony-Anhalt’, said Johannes Jähn. As well as the catches from the German ports, especially Hamburg. In particular, Jähn’s vision to develop the region into a European e-commerce hub, especially since the intermodal terminals in this region still have spare capacity.

Well positioned

The fact that the central German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt is well placed in terms of traffic is unquestionable. Freight forwarders can use 11,000 kilometres of modern roads, 600 kilometres of navigable inland waterways, 18 ports and transhipment points, as well as 3,000 kilometres of one of the densest rail networks in the world. Not to mention the most modern train formation facility in Europe and at least the second-largest cargo airport in Germany that is also the fifth largest in Europe.

This puts the country in a key position in logistics. ‘Three out of six corridors of the trans-European transport network lead through Saxony-Anhalt,’ said Thomas Webel, Minister of Regional Development and Transport of Saxony-Anhalt. The ministry, together with the Logistics.Initiative of Saxony-Anhalt, was the organizer of the Hafenhinterland Conference 2018 in the Bauhaus city of Dessau-Roßlau. At the expert forum, around 100 logistics experts from six European countries discussed future solutions for port hinterland traffic in Central Germany.

Traffic increases

‘We have to change in order to be ready for the future,’ explained Peter Lüttjohann, Head of department of freight transport and logistics at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The transport interweaving forecast of the Ministry sees enormous changes until 2030. Transport performance in freight forwarding, therefore, increases from a good 607 billion in 2010 to almost 840 billion tonne-kilometres – an increase of 38 percent! According to Peter Lüttjohann, multimodal transport will be the fastest growing segment with more than 72 percent by 2030. ‘We want to secure the leading position in the field of freight and logistics in Germany with the Innovation Program Logistics 2030’ the current coalition agreement was quoted.

Saxony-Anhalt is well prepared for the increased logistics demands. The favourable trimodal connection has made the federal state a major logistics hub in Europe. The state has supported the construction, improvement and upgrading of the railway infrastructure (e.g. in Halle, Magdeburg and Stendal) making investments of 10 million euros.

The further construction of the A14 motorway in the north is underway, and 15 more kilometres of the northern extension will be completed by 2020. The construction of the federal highway A143 – the connection of the A14 in the north with the A38 in the south – is already decided, including the expansion of truck parking lots. Over the next few years, 270 additional parking spaces will be added to the existing ones.

Innovative initiatives

There is also no lack of initiatives to strengthen the logistics industry. The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Transport has set up the Logistics Advisory Council, which acts as a link between business, science and government, already back in 2008.

In turn, aside from the ChemMultimodal project (also recently launched in Saxony-Anhalt), there is active cooperation between chemical companies and logistics service providers, involving 40 chemical companies from all over Europe. Their goal is to shift chemical goods from road to intermodal transport.

Railway on the focus

82 percent of goods traffic is currently transported by truck, 16 percent – by freight trains, and almost 2 percent – by inland shipping. European Commission wants to shift 30 percent of freight transport to rail by 2030. The three corridors leading through Saxony-Anhalt - Orient / East-Med, North Sea / Baltic and Scandinavian / Mediterranean – are at the heart of Europe’s seaports. Alexander Vogt, an expert of EU transport policy from Halle (Saale), says that Saxony-Anhalt is located in the centre of the largest single market in the world. ‘The rail link is very important for the ports’, he said. It is insufficient, for example, in Greece and Italy Saxony-Anhalt could score here. And, according to Dr Vogt, the big opportunity for the country lies in support from China. ‘Ten years ago, there was not a single train connection between China and Europe. Today, 35 Chinese cities are associated with 34 German cities.’

Saxony-Anhalt also wants to contribute its share to the protection of the environment with its declared goals of decarbonisation and digitization. The country allocates funds to support the construction of sidings to strengthen rail freight transport. However, Minister of Transport Thomas Webel still sees great potential in inland shipping. The overall concept for the Elbe, which was drafted one year ago, aims to strengthen inland waterway transport. The Minister of Transport likes to talk about the ‘sneak paw among the modes of transport’ in terms of shipping. But avoiding noise is far from the only advantage of shipping. As an example, a single tanker transports the same amount as 82 trucks or 42 tank cars. At the same time, the transport distance is unbeatable: with the same amount of fuel, a ship can travel 370 kilometres, a train – 300, a truck – 100, while an airplane – as little as six kilometres.

New Silk Road

The logistics industry in the state of Saxony-Anhalt is already realizing three billion euros per year and more than 4,000 logistics companies employ 50,000 people. Saxony-Anhalt also shows signs of growth and many credits here go to the connection to the New Silk Road, the Chinese logistics initiative. The middle class of China’s population shows an increasing demand for European goods and at the same time, China’s exports to Europe continue to grow. Johannes Jähn, Airport Managing Director, advises to take the initiative from Asia seriously: ‘Those who participate will be rewarded with investments. Anyone who does not take part will be systematically bypassed.’ Saxony-Anhalt is well equipped for this purpose in terms of infrastructure, offering optimum links between modes of transport. In addition to the train formation facility in Halle (Saale) and the cargo terminal Leipzig / Halle, Johannes Jähn also mentioned other advantages: the A14 motorway towards Hamburg and the A38 connect West Germany and the Benelux countries with the Czech Republic and southern Poland, the A9 – Scandinavia with southern Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Meanwhile Elbe connects the Port of Hamburg with East Germany and the Czech Republic. Johannes Jähn believes that in the future shipping will become even more important. This is mostly due to the high proportion of e-commerce goods that would be too expensive to transport by air.

Leipzig/Halle Airport is currently conducting a research on the use of renewable kerosene – another step on the way to reducing pollutants in traffic. It is clear that many of the ideas, discussed at the 3rd Hafenhinterland Conference, are yet to be implemented to achieve an effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly logistics future. Saxony-Anhalt is already working on that. The presentations and discussions at the conference have shown excellent starting positions and, at the same time, pioneering solutions to face this future.

The conference participants had an opportunity to experience the success stories of Central German logistics in person by visiting the Leipzig/Halle Airport, the train formation plant in Halle (Saale), opened in June, and witnessing the Europe-wide exemplary logistics at the chemical plant of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, which celebrated its 125th birthday this year.

The first Mobility and Logistics Transfer Award

The evening reception, hosted by the city of Dessau-Roßlau, featured the first Mobility and Logistics Transfer Award. The German Association of Transport Sciences in Central Germany (DVWG) wanted to use this initiative for further synergy of science and business in the area of mobility and logistics. The prize, provided by the Ministry of Regional Development and Transport of Saxony-Anhalt in cooperation with the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt, as well as the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK) of Magdeburg and Halle-Dessau, focused on students from the entire Germany, who worked on tasks, selected by Central German companies, on their projects, Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral dissertations.


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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

ISSN 1392-7825

2017 ©