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Hamburg's logistics start-ups changing industry

Companies analysing goods flow with algorithms and online cargo container bookings

Hamburg has become Germany’s capital of start-ups with 253 per every 10,000 inhabitants since 2014 putting it ahead of Berlin with 238 and across various sectors as exemplified by Limberry, a start-up offering traditional “dirndl” designer fashion or the Foodguide social network. But the logistics sector in particular is making headlines and encouraging more start-ups to move to the city.

Cargonexx – turning to artificial intelligence

The Hamburg-based” Cargonexx counts among pioneers in the sector. The start-up aims to optimise supply and demand in truck transport and uses a “digital haulier” to avoid empty runs. It uses self-learning algorithms to identify free capacities and matches them with carriers. The constant analysis of hundreds of thousands of freight data allows the programme to learn how prices are formed. It calculates which lorries on a certain route have free capacities and estimates the costs of a run. Hauliers can book it in a click (one click trucking).

FreightHub for transporting goods

The FreightHub start-up is also banking on digital transport solutions. FreightHub’s success is based on a search algorithm that gives clients up to 200 different transport options. Clients can simply book containers, ships, lorries, trains or barges for transporting cargo to a destination. The transport can be monitored 24/7 on a dashboard. The founders received start-up support from Berlin and the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF) helped find an office in Hamburg. The Logistics-Initiative Hamburg also offered support.

Nüwiel – bikes instead of lorries

The Hamburg-based Nüwiel start-up has an intelligent, electricity-run bicycle trailer that may yet revolutionise the logistics sector. The design of the novel trailer is based on special sensor technology that measures the distance between bicycle and trailer. If a route goes downhill, a signal is sent to the brakes via the control system. If the route goes uphill, a signal is sent to the engine. In that way, the trailer knows exactly when to speed up or hit the brakes. The cyclist does not notice the weight of the trailer; travels safer and can avoid traffic jams, noise and pollution.

CiDO bringing innovations to the front door

The Hamburg-based CiDO (which means “come in and drop off”) start-up has come up with a solution for last-mile delivery problems such as ringing a doorbell several times only to find nobody at home. Such calls can prove nervewracking for deliverers and costly for the company. CiDO’s digital solution verifies the identity of select persons at the door and gives them access to apartment buildings. Package deliverers use a barcode to check packages and get access to a depot in the hall. Developed by Dr. Julian Wulf and Felix Ueckermann, the idea has opened doors at many big companies. Now, CiDO is planning several pilot projects with international delivery companies.

Hamburg – excellent place for logistics start-ups

The Hanse city has proven an excellent location for start-ups in the logistics sector in recent years. Founders benefit from thriving local networks. The Next Logistics Accelerator will be offering fledgling start-ups financial backing and access to Hamburg’s extensive logistics network from October. The recently-launched Logistik-Hub offers firms an opportunity to network with commerce and the political sphere to develop digital business models for those sectors.

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