Today, thousands of international trade and logistics companies are represented in the Hamburg metropolitan region.

Logistics Hamburg

The Hamburg metropolitan region – situated at the intersection of global and European lines of trade – has a tradition of overseas trade that reaches back many centuries. Apart from the seaport and the advantageous location, a fully developed infrastructure and comprehensive range of logistical services have allowed the region to evolve into the main hub for Northern Europe’s commodity flows. Continuing globalization and open borders in Eastern Europe have made Hamburg the logistical centre point of Northern and Eastern Europe.

vergrößern Hochregallager/ High-bay warehouse Hochregallager/ High-bay warehouse (Bild: Logistik-Initiative Hamburg)

More than 12,000 of international trade and logistics companies are represented in the Hamburg metropolitan region. No matter what the task, there is a partner in the close-knit network of logistics experts who can perform it. The range of logistics and shipping companies, IT and technology specialists, business consultants, law firms, specialized insurance and financial service providers, and logistics-related training and research institutes, is matchless in Europe. Second only to London, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg boasts the largest number of shipping companies on the European continent, and is the seat of the United Nations’ International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Aiming to retain its position as a globalization winner, Hamburg is further expanding its logistical infrastructure, for instance by enlarging the port – the second-largest container port in Europe – as well as the road, rail and waterway links to the port hinterland.

There are 414,400 logistics-sector jobs in the metropolitan region.

Port- and Rail-Based Cargo Handling

The Hamburg metropolitan region has superb links to the markets. Its location on the Elbe River, the Port of Hamburg, the road and rail network and air transportation facilities all ensure optimal distribution of goods of any kind and quantity to destinations all over the world. There is no type of shipment that cannot be handled or organized from here.

Two-thirds of the overseas containers handled in Germany either depart from or arrive in the Hamburg metropolitan region. This impressive volume is achieved by a state-of-the-art, high-capacity infrastructure, which includes the world’s most advanced container terminal, Altenwerder, at the Port of Hamburg and Europe’s largest railroad marshalling yard in Maschen.

vergrößern Elbtunnel/ Elbe highway tunnel (Bild: Logistik-Initiative Hamburg)

The highway network connects the Port of Hamburg to other urban centres, such as Berlin, Bremen, Hannover and Copenhagen. Newly planned highways and river crossings will further improve links to other regions. Hamburg Airport, with its highly efficient cargo logistics capabilities, is another essential component of the infrastucture and forms part of the region’s logistical backbone. Moreover, the Hamburg metropolitan region is one of Europe’s central railway hubs with excellent connections to the inland waterways via the Elbe River and the Elbe-Seitenkanal. Combined transport is handled at the terminals in Hamburg-Billwerder, Brunsbüttel and Stade. The world’s busiest artificial waterway, the Kiel Canal, extends from Brunsbüttel to Kiel Holtenau and links the North Sea with the Baltic.

Port and Shipping Line Location

The Port of Hamburg is the driving force behind the metropolitan region’s success. A cargo turnover of 135,1 million tons in 2018 puts the Port of Hamburg in third place in Europe. Handling approximately 8,7 million standard containers, it is one of the world’s top 15 container ports. Specifically, it is the most important destination for goods shipped from Asia. Likewise, turnover rates are increasing at the region’s other seaports in Brunsbüttel, Cuxhaven, Kiel, Lübeck and Stade. Along the Elbe River and the Elbe-Seitenkanal, the inland ports of Lüneburg, Uelzen, Geesthacht and Lauenburg are benefiting both from the growing volume of inland waterway transportation and from the fact that they can provide additional capacities.

Cargo Transportation Centres (GVZ)

vergrößern Rangierbahnhof Maschen/ Maschen railroad yard Rangierbahnhof Maschen/ Maschen railroad yard (Bild: Logistik-Initiative Hamburg)

Given the rapid growth in freight haulage volumes and the increasingly significant role of combined transport, the region more than ever relies on cargo transportation centres. Serving as an interface between the different modes of transport as well as local and supra-regional traffic, they are an essential contribution to more environmentally compatible transport chains. Current planning for new cargo transportation centres focuses on Lüneburg, Stade and Uelzen in the south of the Hamburg metropolitan region.

Education, Research and Development
Research and Education Drive Innovation

Hamburg is the centre of the dual vocational training in logistics, and home to Germany's largest vocational school in forwarding and logistics services. In the Hamburg Metropolitan Area, 17 universities and some 37 institutes in the logistics sector offer degree course in logistics both in English and German, and cover a wide spectrum of logistics research.Corner pillars of the industry are the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics, the Hamburg Logistics Institute (HLI) as specialist for Auto-ID research, the Institute for Machine Elements and Technical Logistics at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces, and the Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics of the University of Technology Hamburg-Harburg with its focus on sustainability.

The city’s many educational institutions ensure initial and further training on all qualification levels. The Internet platform "Logistik Lernen" provides a comprehensive overview.


Logistics Initiative Hamburg