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Logistics in Hamburg heading for success

Several projects driving digital change in logistics - start-up scene also a player

Hamburg is considered Germany’s logistics hotspot with the country’s biggest port and Europe’s third largest container harbour as well as Hamburg Airport. Around 12,000 companies in the logistics sector employ around 395,000 people in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

Digital Hub Logistics backing digital transformation

The Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg launched in early 2018 and brings together market leaders, SMEs and start-ups, science, research and advanced training at the leading logistics centre in northern Europe. Initiated by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Logistik Initiative Hamburg, the hub strengthens Hamburg’s leading position in the competitive global market among digital logistics centres and leading economic cities. The Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg is one of 12 hubs by the Germany’s digital association, Bitkom and the German Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

“Start-Up Logistik Radar” – basis for co-operations in future

The new “Start-Up Logistik Radar” has been focusing on logistics start-ups since January 1 as part of the “go-cluster” nine-month project funded by BMWi. The project aims to identify key sources of impulse triggered by start-ups and ease exchange with fledgling companies and established players in the sector who can contribute valuable assets to a collaboration and enhance each other.

Next Logistics Accelerator launching

The Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) and the Logistik-Initiative Hamburg launched the Next Commerce Accelerator in January for start-ups. The idea is to bring experts and firms together and to drive innovation in electronic trade. The city of Hamburg is also a partner to NCA. Apart from EUR 50,000 in equity capital and access to potential clients and business partners, NCA offers training and coaching programmes as well as office space in return for a 3 to 5 per cent share of the companies. Experts offer advice services for six months and the start-ups can also avail of the NCA management. Start-ups with a new logistics business model e.g. in warehousing, Internet of Things, transport and adjacent services are eligible to apply.

World’s first emission-free shuttle-on-demand service

Hamburger Hochbahn AG and Volkswagen’s latest company, MOIA, are aiming to redefine mobility for people living in urban areas. MOIA is developing a shuttle-on-demand service using environment-friendly electric vehicles that enhance public transport and may yet prove an alternative to cars. Studies indicate that cars are not used in cities like Hamburg over 95 per cent (23 hours daily). Ride pooling offers help ease congestion, pollution, noise and lack of space. Customers can book a journey on an app simply by entering their location and destination. The MOIA shuttle pools requests for destinations and calculates the routes and individual journeys times using algorithms. MOIA will also be included in Hamburg Hochbahn’s switchh platform and is set to enhance existing car sharing vehicles and bicycles. If successful, MOIA will also be launched in other cities. The world’s first emission-free shuttle-on-demand service will launch in late 2018 with 200 vehicles and is set to boost intelligent transport in Hamburg.

Delivery robots, micro depots and electric transport

Hermes, a subsidiary of Otto, is also aiming for zero emissions. Last year, Hermes Germany concluded the first, six-month test phase of package delivery with robots by Estonia’s Starship Technologies. Hermes had tested returns and package collection in the suburbs of Ottensen, Grindel and Volksdorf in Hamburg. However, the robots can only go travelling when accompanied by a member of staff. Thus, their introduction may be a long way off. Experiments are now underway with so-called micro-depots or containers. Packages are delivered on foot or by bicycle in a 500 to 1,000-metre zone. Hermes is also going electric and is aiming for more environment-friendly deliveries using electric bikes, electric scooters or electric sprinters by 2018.

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