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Review and outlook - Hamburg well placed for 2017

Hamburg boasts dynamic economy and high standard of living as 2016 nears end

The magnificent Elbphilharmonie has finally been completed, the Plaza has opened to the public. Both the OSCE summit and the 7th Hamburg Summit “China meets Europe” brought the world’s leading politicians to the city making it the centre of media attention. Hamburg is endearing and can boast a high standard of living thanks to a dynamic economy. This summer, the Intelligence Unit of The Economist, Britain’s leading business magazine, ranked the Hanse city as one of the ten most liveable cities worldwide. Around 140 cities in 30 categories were surveyed. And the EU Commission also ranked the Hamburg Metropolitan Region among the innovation leaders underlining the city’s outstanding position in many growing sectors.

Hamburg News gives an overview of these success stories and will be presenting a SERIES focusing on internationally successful companies in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region during the coming weeks.

Wind power – Hamburg – leading centre of innovation

Hamburg lives up to its reputation a centre of innovation in the wind sector near the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. In November, the Fraunhofer IWES announced plans to build a large test stand for blade bearings of wind turbines at the Technologiezentrum Energie-Campus Bergedorf at the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in co-operation with the Competence Center für Erneuerbare Energien und Energieeffizienz (CC4E). Hamburg is investing around EUR 8.3 million in the site and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has approved some EUR 12 million for development and operation. Construction will start next spring. Professor Dr. Werner Beba, Director of CC4E, aims to establish a leading, global centre of innovation for energy transition in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The skills of 23 co-operating partners in commerce, universities and authorities will be combined in 13 individual projects there. Nordex, Senvion and Siemens are among the wind energy giants based in Hamburg where many producers focus on sales and management, according to the Cluster Renewable Energy. Many leading developers of offshore wind parks including DONG Energy, Vattenfall Europe Windkraft, EnBW, E.ON Climate & Renewables and RWE Innogy have branches in Hamburg as well.

Aviation and XFEL

The city is also aiming high in civil aviation and now counts among its key centres. Apart from industry giants like Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport, over 300 SMEs and diverse technical and scientific institutes have a joint workforce of 40,000 highly skilled professionals. The Hamburg Aviation cluster seeks to boost networking and to this end, the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL) in Finkenwerder opened in March 2016. The centre has received a total investment of EUR 100,000 and will provide 600 jobs on a 28,000 square metre area. The main focus will be on fuel cells, cabins, air conditioning systems, aircraft manufacturing, acoustics, 3D printing and virtual reality. Two start-ups, Synergeticon and Jetlite have already gone through Airbus BizLab’s accelerator programme in the Airbus BizLab and are preparing to move to ZAL in January. Synergeticon develops clever assistance systems for factory workers and Jetlite has developed a lighting concept using LED technology to ease jetlag after long-haul flights.

Research in Hamburg will receive additional funds following the German government’s approval. Hamburg will receive EUR 9 million to expand the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and EUR 3 million to set up the German Maritime Research Centre. Basic funding for the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft has been raised by EUR60 million. Aviation in particular stands to benefit from the funding. Apart from the existing DLR facilities in Fuhlsbüttel and Harburg, research will also be conducted into “Systems Architecture in Aviation” and “Maintenance and Repair Concepts” in Hamburg. This will complement the skills and expertise of Airbus and Lufthansa Technik.

The commissioning of a 3.4-km long underground X-ray laser by European XFEL, a large international research facility including eleven European member countries, on October 6th proved another milestone in international research. The EUR 1.5 billion project is likely to maker Hamburg a leading centre of X-ray laser research. The European XFEL is one of biggest and most ambitious research projects in Europe. The fields of application range from structural biology, chemistry physic and materials sciences to environmental and energy research.

smartPORT – focus on logistics and energy

Hamburg’s success is also evident in the port – one of northern Europe’s largest industrial areas and a leading logistics centre. The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) is eyeing sustainable growth and its smartPORT project pools intelligent logistics solutions for traffic and goods flows guided by economic and ecological principles. And smartPORT energy is relying on innovative technology to reduce the consumption of conventional energy and lower emissions. HPA is also the leading partner of the Green Cruise Port. Around 100 representatives of harbour-related industries arrived in Hamburg for the opening conference in late September. The EU-funded project is part of the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020 targeting minimal, environmental impact from cruise ships in the region and in the North Sea. Rapid growth in cruise ship tourism and with 170 arriving ships in Hamburg and 710,000 passengers is leading to new records in the cruise ship sector as well.

Smart Last Mile Logistics

Hamburg’s Smart Last Mile Logistics (SMILE) aims to create innovative transport solutions and establish the Hanse city as a model of intelligent delivery in Europe. Drones and robots may yet be deployed from a decentralised package delivery centre. SMILE will also co-ordinate the numerous approaches to improving efficiency, achieving clean air, less noise and smoother traffic flows in Hamburg. SMILE will be executed in co-operation with the Logistik-Initiative Hamburg comprising 500 institutions and firms in industry, trade, service providers and research making it one of the biggest networks of its kind in Europe.

Hamburg on digital course

Digitalisation tops the agenda and Hamburg is on course to becoming a digital city. More and more administration services are being offered in a customer-friendly, digital manner. The feasibility of many other services is being examined and if successful, people could complete many pesky services on the internet and no longer have to appear in person to have them done.

Digitalisation is also impacting transport and the Hamburg Hochbahn is pressing ahead with various projects. A six-month test phase of free WLAN on the No. 5 bus and at two underground stations has proved an all-round success this year. The Hochbahn will make free internet surfing available on all buses by late 2017 and in all underground stations by late 2018. And there will also be USB charging sockets. From mid 2017, the company will launch a six-month pilot to test a mobile phone-based ticket system capable of automatically recognising where passengers boarded and alighted. If successful, the project will be available across HVV from 2018.

Commerce to go

Smart phones are pivotal to the mobility mix consisting of private vehicles, HVV, sharing offers and bicycles. Cyclists can lease one of 1,800 bicycles from over 190 lending stations using the StadtRAD app. The switchh project, which enhances the HVV app, will allow swift, easy access to flexible transport offers. All HVV users, and not just subscribers, will be able to use the services of car2go, StadtRAD, Drive Now and cambio in future. The sharing offers are proving popular and Henrik Falk, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, believes: “Digitalisation will make shared mobility standard.”

Sources and further information:

See the following reports on Hamburg News:

Smart Last Mile Logistics

Fraunhofer IWES

Start-ups move to ZAL

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