City of Cities is ‘most dynamic logistics region in Germany’

New distribution centres are among the largest in Europe

In recent months, headlines such as these have been appearing in the press: ‘Giant central storage facility for METRO’ (WELT). ‘Opel’s super-storage facility opening in Bochum’ (BILD). ‘EDEKA investing heavily in Ruhr region’ (Logistik-heute). ‘New logistics centre for Amazon’ (Handelsblatt). And these are just a few examples – proof that the Metropolis Ruhr is a top location for logistics and commerce.

It is not really surprising if you take a closer look at the region’s setting and infrastructure. As a crossroads between the major European north–south and east–west corridors, the Ruhr region plays a unique role. The eastern part, with its 75,000 sq. m of new developments, is currently Germany’s most dynamic logistics hub. This is according to information just published by logivest, which has its finger on the pulse when it comes to logistics real estate.

Unbeatable reasons to invest

What makes the City of Cities so very different to others? It certainly benefits from the extraordinarily close links between industry, commerce, services, education and research – and the fact that the arguments for investing there are unbeatable: compared to big cities such as Munich or Berlin, rental prices and property prices in the Ruhr region are moderate. What’s more, urban planning and development are constantly being redefined. This is a place where you can still find generously sized sites in excellent locations.

And there will soon be even more skilled workers specialised in logistics and commerce. The Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences in Mülheim an der Ruhr launched a brand-new degree programme in e-commerce at the beginning of the 2017/18 winter semester. A total of 65 students were initially given a place on the course, and there were almost four times as many applicants. ‘The programme was designed to help meet the needs of regional retailers: Tengelmann, Metro, Aldi Süd, Eismann, Footlocker, BabyOne,’ explains Professor Koch, vice president of the University. ‘It will provide us with skilled workers from the region, for the region.’ The e-commerce degree programme is the first of its kind in western Germany.

The extremely flexible transport links are also a major factor for companies when deciding where to base their operations. The world’s largest inland port is in Duisburg – and Europe’s largest canal port, in Dortmund, is less than 50 km away as the crow flies. The logistics and industrial areas are of great international importance. They stand out thanks to their trimodal cargo handling for mass transport, general cargo transport and container transport: the ports are connected to the entire European transport system by water, rail and road.

Big-name retailers are supplied from here

You needn’t look hard to find logistics-oriented companies here – there are over 300 in duisport. One of them is Imperial Logistics, which has offices in 21 countries. The company specialises in global logistics – from logistics concepts and production services to inland waterway transport. Dortmund, meanwhile, has 160 companies near the port. Many retailers are supplied from here. They include big names such as Kaufland, Thalia and IKEA. A total of 133 million tonnes of goods are handled, two-thirds by rail and ship.

Chinese companies are increasingly using the Duisburg location. One of the main things that makes the Metropolis Ruhr so interesting is the direct rail connection between the Port of Duisburg and Chongqing in China – the world’s largest metropolis with 32 million inhabitants. Using the new Silk Road, which runs overland between East Asia and western Europe, is fast, cheap and eco-friendly. There are advantages for both regions, including a reduced environmental impact and the creation of new jobs.

Opel’s largest logistics facility in Europe

Hundreds of jobs have been created thanks to the carmaker Opel’s new central storage facility. The Bochum warehouse distributes replacement parts to 50 markets in Europe. This state-of-the-art distribution centre – which is the size of twelve football pitches – has just opened, making Bochum Opel’s largest logistics site in Europe.

You could be forgiven for thinking that it makes DHL’s gigantic parcel centre look a little on the small side – you could only fit five football pitches inside, after all. But things are about to change. A new parcel centre is currently under construction, also in Bochum. Not only is it one of the most advanced centres of its kind – it’s also one of the largest in Europe. From next year, 50,000 consignments per hour (!) will be sorted here at the Mark 51/7 site, before they are distributed around the globe.