In terms of gross value added, Hamburg is the biggest industrial city in Germany and one of the biggest industrial locations in Europe.
Hamburg means industry. Seen from a historic perspective, the industry is tightly interwoven with the maritime industries. The import of raw materials and their processing and refining for the domestic market or export originally formed the basis for the development of production facilities.
Many industrial enterprises from Hamburg are setting world standards. Aurubis, one of the most important copper smelters in the world, significantly contributed to the good reputation of Hamburg‘s industry as agent of environmental protection and social responsibility. Montblanc is known worldwide for the quality and exclusivity of its writing instruments and accessories. Companies such as Beiersdorf AG with its global brands Nivea and Tesa, Bode Chemie, Eppendorf AG, manufacturer of laboratory equipment Philips Medical Systems, Olympus Medical Systems, and Sysmex reflect the excellent reputation of Hamburg as a global centre of life sciences.
With companies such as Airbus, Lufthansa Technik, and Blohm + Voss, Hamburg is also a global leader in the construction of ships and aircraft. With NXP Semiconductors, Hamburg also boasts a blue chip of the industry on site.
Other major producers of capital goods are the city’s manufacturers of machinery. Dolmar manufactures chain saws in Hamburg, Hauni cigarette processing equipment, Rofin-Sinar high-performance lasers, and Thyssen escalators. And the industrial trucks built by Jungheinrich and Still are regarded as top class by their international clientele.
The Port of Hamburg, Germany‘s biggest hub for the import and export of raw coffee, cocoa beans, tea, spices, raw tobacco and sugar, makes Hamburg a leading location of the food industry. International companies of the food and beverage industry such as Unilever and Kellogg's operate DACH headquarters in Hamburg.
In Hamburg, the manufacturing industry also has an enormous strategic importance for the economic development of the city. The industry is contractor for other economic sectors and motivating force for technological research.
Hamburg‘s rise to industrial hotspot took off from shipbuilding. A handful of
large shipyards and many small and medium-sized shipyards were the engines of industrial progress. With Blohm + Voss, one of the world‘s most advanced companies for ship repair and modification is at home in Hamburg. Blohm + Voss also enjoy an excellent reputation in the construction of frigates and cruise ships. Cruise industry and Green Shipping are now major drivers of maritime innovation. Today, the aviation industry plays the role once held by the shipbuilding industry in Hamburg. Aviation, too, is a spin-off of Hamburg’s shipbuilding industry: some 80 years ago - 1933 -, a subsidiary of Blohm + Voss started the construction of seaplanes.