Hamburg future-proofing itself as a logistics centre

SERIES (4): Hamburg's industries: Resilience, sustainability, energy and digital transformation
13 February 2024
Logistik Container Konstantin Beck 9.2.24

This year is likely to be challenging for the German Logistics Association. No wonder that the resilience of the industry is now a focus of the Hamburg Logistics Initiative (LIHH). However, LIHH aims to send the energy transition and sustainability higher up the agenda through numerous projects and closer co-operation between clusters all over Hamburg. This is the backdrop to 4th Cross-Cluster Conference which gets underway Tuesday (February 13, 2024). Organised by the Renewable Energy Hamburg, Hamburg Aviation, Hamburg Cruise Net, Maritime Cluster Northern Germany and the LIHH, clusters, the conference will focus on the role of hydrogen in renewable energy systems of the future. Hydrogen is touted as a promising alternative to fossil fuels and Hamburg has set itself the goal of setting up a hydrogen economic sector. "The conference is about the short and medium-term availability of green hydrogen and what role it will play in an overall secure energy supply system," said Carmen Schmidt, Managing Director of LIHH. Abundant clean energy is crucial to the success of the energy transition in Hamburg and its resilience.

Hamburg's urban logistics going greener

The members of LIHH are on track to future-proof Hamburg as a sustainable, logistics centre. The annual review has plenty of positive examples, e.g., Hermes Germany, to show for itself. Headquartered in Hamburg, Hermes reached its goal of zero-emission deliveries all over the city and on the outskirts by late 2023 and ahead of schedule. The logistics service provider, Dachser, began using only zero-emission vehicles for non-refrigerated shipments in downtown Hamburg last August. The company has set its sights on expanding this sustainable urban logistics concept to 24 major European cities by 2025. And last year, the jury of the Hanse Globe prize for sustainable logistics lauded Sovereign Speed’s outstanding "Our Way to Zero" concept. The Hamburg-based company specialises in express logistics and operates several hundred commercial vehicles (3.5t-40t), its own aircraft and huge transhipment warehouses all over Europe. It is now aiming to offer all of its services in a CO2-neutral manner. LIHH is now gearing up to present the next Hanse Globe on November 26, 2024.

Logistik Hermes_Germany_E-Transporter Hermes Germany Willing-Holtz 9.2.24
© Hermes Germany/Willing-Holtz
Hermes Germany's e-transporters
Logistik Routenplanung Yvonne Scheller 9.2.24
© Yvonne Scheller
Optimum route planning thanks to quantum computing

Quantum computers and AI

LIHH is also highlighting the importance of future technologies for the industry. Quantum technology is just one example, said Schmidt, 47.. Efforts to come up with high-performance computers are underway all over the globe. Meanwhile, the University of Hamburg is among those building a quantum computer as part of the Rymax One project. Experts have high hopes for the technology of the future. Highly complex simulations such as route optimisation could deliver results in seconds rather than hours. "Once this technology is available, it will open up brand new possibilities for using AI in logistics. We are lending support to our member companies as they prepare for this huge wave," Schmidt pointed out. Researchers are hoping that the combination of two key technologies namely quantum computing and AI will send innovation to new heights.

Cybersecurity gaining importance

Companies should also prepare for the other key issue of cybersecurity, said Schmidt, who has been involved in the logistics industry for 18 years. "Adapting security measures to ward off hackers' attacks is also a form of resilience. Thus, LIHH is also focusing on that goal currently to bolster Hamburg’s defences."

Ready for change

Changes such as the energy transition or digital transformation can only be successful, if people are convinced of the respective goals. For this reason, LIHH has devised the “innovate:me” series of seminars for employees in co-operation with its partners and members." We are focusing on AI with the Artificial Intelligence Centre Hamburg (ARIC) and homePORT Hamburg. Plenty is afoot in Hamburg and we are trying to offer low-threshold, practical access. Our  seminars highlight the advantages of AI in the day-to-day work environment and how it can be used without major investments," said Schmidt. And the issue is becoming popular. Around 40 delegates attended the first innovate:me seminar "BusinessHack" on January 23-25, 2024 and gained insight into generative AI. More workshops are being planned and will be announced soon. 

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Logistik Carmen Schmidt Geschäftsführerin Logistik-Initiative Hamburg LIHH 9.2.24
© LIHH
Carmen Schmidt, Managing Director of LIHH

LIHH Hamburg

More than 500 members including companies and institutions all over the Hamburg Metropolitan region and elsewhere make the Logistik-Initiative Hamburg Management GmbH (LIHH) Europe’s largest local industry network. As a public-private partnership, LIHH is promoting the location as a trend-setting, innovative logistics region in Europe until 2025. To this end, it forges networks between logistics companies and institutions. The network consists of service providers, industry and trade, R&D, start-ups, several public institutions and industrial companies. The sector comprises around 11,200 logistics companies with a total workforce of some 315,000 people (2020).