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The road, rail, waterborne and air modes are to be linked even better. Source: Fotolia / industrieblick

Logistics – the smart transport
of goods

Germany is among the world’s leading logistics centres: located in the centre of Europe, it offers many logistical advantages. In order to keep it that way, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is taking the necessary steps to even better interlink and coordinate the road, rail, waterborne and air modes of transport in the future.

Staatssekretär Steffen Bilger (Quelle: Steffen Bilger Homepage)
Parlamentarischer Staatssekretär Steffen Bilger

Source: Steffen Bilger Homepage

High-performance logistics are a basic prerequisite for growth and prosperity in Germany. Digitalisation is changing processes rapidly and fundamentally. The integration of different modes of transport, environmentally friendly freight movements and ensuring adequate numbers of young logistics professionals remain priorities on our transport policy agenda.

Parliamentary State Secretary Steffen Bilger, Federal Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics

Background

Learn more about Logistics.

Ordered today on the internet – delivered tomorrow already? Thanks to modern logistics, nowadays, our wishes are often only a mouse click away. The challenge for the logistics sector is not only to transport the goods to their destination as fast as possible but also in an as cost-effective, quiet and environmentally friendly manner as possible. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is doing everything it can to make that possible.

German logistics sector opens gateways to the world

Germany is located at the heart of Europe, and it is the most important exporting nation. With a turnover of approx. 260 billion euros, logistics is the third largest sector of our economy: every year, 4.3 billion tonnes of goods are transported on German roads, railways and waterways. This sector employs around 3 million people. The production and transport chains have long since spanned the whole world. Goods travel thousands of kilometres, e.g. on huge container ships. Logistics professionals not only make sure that goods are transported from point A to point B. They also produce and refine them. What is more, they make sure that the products are packed and prepared for dispatch. Thus, the parcel delivery guy we are often waiting for with great impatience is only the last link in the long transport chain.

Efficient logistics chains: one-stop shop

Intelligent logistics systems ensure smooth processes and keep the economy going. However, the expertise of our logistics professionals is not the only factor determining the competitiveness of Germany as a place to do business. It is also important to combine the road, rail, waterborne and air modes in a meaningful manner and create nodal points where the different transport routes are linked up efficiently. Via such nodes as freight villages, airports, sea and inland ports, it is possible to establish high-performing transport chains and networks. This makes our logistics smarter, more modern and more climate-friendly.

One of the objectives of our Ministry’s Freight Transport and Logistics Action Plan is to better interconnect all modes of transport in Germany. Source: Fotolia / vege

Invest, modernize, digitalize.

Freight Transport and Logistics Action Plan

Whether it be food for the supermarket or components for car manufacturers – we need high-performing freight transport networks and logistics systems to prevent delays in transport. To preserve and expand these in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Transport has developed a Freight Transport and Logistics Action Plan. The Action Plan puts forward goals and measures to support the freight transport and logistics industry in fulfilling its comprehensive tasks.

Strong goals

The goals of the Federal Ministry of Transport include:

  • strengthen Germany as a centre for logistics,
  • maintain, modernize and expand our efficient transport infrastructure,
  • enhance the interconnectivity of all modes of transport,
  • promote environmentally friendly and energy-efficient freight transport and
  • ensure recruitment and support good working conditions. 

Focus on digitalization

How fast and well freight transport and logistics processes can be controlled digitally is essential for the competitiveness of Germany as a centre for logistics. Universal coverage by high-speed networks of at least 50 Mbit/s is to be achieved by 2018. Logistics companies, too, are to benefit to a greater extent from the increasing use of modern information and communications technology. In the future, for instance, mobile data capture devices will be able to transmit information on stock levels and stock locations via radio networks that are linked to the IT systems of the companies.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s "Logistics made in Germany” initiative helps German companies to increase their presence outside Germany. Source: BMVI

Logistics "made in Germany"

Logistics Alliance Germany

German logistics companies have an excellent reputation at international level. To attract more orders from abroad with the help of the high level of expertise of German companies, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, together with the German logistics industry, engages in the "Logistics Alliance Germany" (LAG) marketing initiative. The Berlin head office of the LAG serves as the central information and contact point for foreign companies and helps them find suitable German logistics service providers. Around 70 large, medium-sized and small companies have since joined the initiative.

Consolidate Germany’s leading position

With its marketing measures, the "Logistics Alliance Germany" network helps to publicize Germany on foreign markets as a gateway and hub in Europe. The initiative successfully maintains and expands the international competitiveness of Germany as a centre for logistics. It is encouraging that more collaborative schemes are being established between German and foreign logistics companies. The common "Logistics made in Germany" platform is a success: German companies are able to significantly increase their presence outside Germany.

Active on the international level

To promote Germany as a logistics hub as well as the German logistics industry, the "Logistics Alliance Germany" organizes a wide range of activities that are coordinated annually with the federal states. These include specialist conferences, roadshows as well as information and networking events. Moreover, the LAG represents Germany as a centre for logistics at international flagship trade fairs and arranges visits by delegations to other countries.

further information

The Programme of work on recruitment campaigns and skills development is aimed at getting more young people enthusiastic again about the logistics industry. Source: Fotolia / industrieblick

Make the logistics sector attractive to skilled workers

Shortage of skilled labour in the logistics sector

On weekdays, long-distance road vehicles own the right-hand lanes of motorways. And there is a long-distance HGV driver in the cab of every HGV. But this image is deceptive. German logistics operators have problems in attracting skilled recruits. And this despite the fact that the logistics sector offers young people excellent prospects for the future and many and varied training and career opportunities. As a consequence of demographic change, the average age of the workforce in the freight transport and logistics sector is rising constantly. Many employees will be retiring in the next few years. Other factors contributing to the shortage of skilled labour are increased demands placed on the sector and the working conditions that are shaped by the intense competitive pressure on the sector. To make up for the loss of professional drivers as they reach retirement age, over 20,000 new drivers would have to be taken on every year. For this reason, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is providing support to the freight transport and logistics industry in improving the image of occupations in their sector and in ensuring an adequate number of skilled workers in the long term.

However, in a free market economic system, government can only exert limited influence on the aforementioned trend. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is committed to close cooperation with industry, associations and trade unions. Furthermore, patronages for different projects and training initiatives have been assumed. Dorothee Bär, Member of the German Bundestag, State Secretary and Federal Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics, has for instance assumed the patronage of the "Hello future!" training initiative of the Heinrich Vogel publishing house, which informs schoolchildren in all types of school about chances and opportunities of training occupations in the field of transport and logistics.

Study logistics? Sure.

Whether it be logistics management, supply chain management or business management with a focus on logistics – our institutions of higher education offer many and varied courses in the logistics field. Every year, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure awards the "Freight Transport and Logistics Higher Education Prize" for outstanding higher education courses. With this prize, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure wants to publicize higher education courses in the field of logistics and strengthen the motivation of young people to choose a course of study in the logistics field. Not many of them know that logistics is much more than just transport or warehousing and offers a wide range of jobs. Graduates can, for example, work in manufacturing companies, transport or infrastructure management as well as in wholesale and retail companies.

Since freight transport in Germany will continue to grow, we must reduce the burden on our road network in the future. Source: Fotolia / Miredi

Multimodal freight transport operations

Growth in traffic requires modal shift

Forecasts predict a considerable increase in freight traffic. According to the recent traffic forecast, freight traffic will increase by 38 percent by 2030 against 2010 levels – an increase that our roads and motorways alone will not be able to cope with. It is necessary that the individual modes of transport be able to deploy their inherent advantages in an optimum manner. Therefore, it is an objective of the Federal Government to better interlink the individual modes of transport and to shift more traffic to the rail and waterway modes.

Modal shift funding programmes

The easiest option is to provide shippers with direct access to the rail network. To this end, the Federal Government is promoting the construction of new and the upgrading or reactivation of existing private sidings. This enables companies to load their goods onto freight wagons directly at the production site. Companies without direct siding or port access rely on combined transport terminals. In particular, containers and HGV semi-trailers are loaded there from road to rail or ships and vice versa. The Federal Government also provides grants for the upgrading and construction of combined transport terminals by private companies – totalling up to 80 percent of the capital expenditure.

Once or twice a year, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure hosts network conferences. Source: BMVI

Transport policy must be transparent

Events staged by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure on freight transport and logistics

The Federal Ministry of Transport wants to make its transport policy as transparent as possible for all citizens in Germany. At events staged together with the freight transport industry, logistics experts from industry and the public sector exchange views and experience. With its events, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure aims to improve the image of the sector and the public acceptance of this industry.

National Freight Transport and Logistics Conference

Once a year, the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure hosts a "National Freight Transport and Logistics Conference", which is addressed to managerial staff from the logistics sector and high-level representatives from government, public authorities and academia and covers current transport policy issues.

Within the context of this conference, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure awards the "Freight Transport and Logistics Higher Education Prize".

Network conferences

Once or twice a year, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure hosts network conferences. Selected digital or transport policy-related activities of the Federal Government relating to logistics are presented during these specialist conferences and are discussed with competent experts.