The revenues of the German logistics industry were at a record high in 2012, qualifiably estimated at 233 billion Euros (3rd place after the automotive and healthcare industries). The industry had in 2012 approximately 2.85 million employees throughout Germany. In the Halle-Dessau IHK district there are currently about 1,800 logistics companies with about 35,000 employees. About nine percent of all social insurance contributions occur in the field of logistics. The fact that this rate is above the national average of 8.5% is a clear indication of the development of the logistics region – especially since experts believe that a further three percent increase in jobs in the logistics sector by the end of 2015 is realistic.
A site survey conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute in 2012 certified the Halle/Leipzig region (in the literature often also referred to as the logistics region of central Germany) as one of the most dynamic developments in comparison with other logistics regions in central Europe. Behind such established sites as the Rhine/Main, Duisburg, Cologne, Kassel, and Nuremberg, the region has already developed a ranking place in the upper middle of the German logistics locations. Big names are resident here, including logistics companies such as DHL and Kuehne + Nagel, as well as logistic intensive industries such as BMW and Porsche. The region of Halle/Leipzig is particularly suitable, in the opinion of the reviewers, as an “import logistics location” (fine distribution of goods delivered via port or cargo airport) and as a “location for central distribution logistics” (suppply of a large-scale area by a central traffic source). Proof of the latter includes, for example, the establishment of large delivery warehouses in southern Saxony-Anhalt by Aldi, Kaufland, REWE, and Rossman, as well as Amazon in Leipzig.
Problem Child Inland Waterway
While the convenient location to the Eastern European markets speaks for the geographical potential of Halle/Leipzig, it does not represent a unique feature in the European scale. In the competition of logistics regions, it is much more effective to score with very good transport infrastructure facilities. The region is already well positioned for modes of transport by road, rail, and air. On the other hand there is an acute need for action on the inland waterway. The previously mentioned Fraunhofer study identified the lack of capacity of the waterway as a locational disadvantage, which can be quite a barrier to further development.
Above Average Use of Rail
A special feature of the central German logistics region is the above-average use of rail freight transport. This is explained manily by the regional specific products: energy, petroleum, and chemical products. Accordingly, the Deutsche Bahn AG has shown unambiguous support for the logistics of central Germany by constructing its central marshalling yard on the site of the Halle freight station. A freight flow analysis shows a developing focus on the economic centers in south and west Germany and towards Eastern Europe. The transport relative to the ports of Hamburg and Bremen is also in demand, but has so far been quantified only medium importance. This results in the following infrastructural actions being needed – completion of the new Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig, upgrading the track Halle-Eichenberg-Kassel to 120 km/hr in the short-term and then to 160 km/hr, securing efficient rail connections to the German seaports and Eastern Europe, and expanding the nodes Halle and Dessau.
Roads Bear the Brunt
The main burden of freight transport from the region still lies on the roads (82.5% road, 15% rail, 2.5% waterway, air freight hardly relevant). Since 1990 a lot has been achieved in expanding these modes of transport in Saxony-Anhalt: with an investment of 4.4 billion Euros 200 km of new roadways were built, the higway network inventory modernized, and 94% of the federal highway network rehabilitated. Still pending tasks to improve the national transport links are the completion of the A 14 closure Magdeburg-Schwerin and the A 143 West Bypass Halle, as well as the construction of B6n between the A14 near Bernburg and the A9 south of Dessau.
Source: Halle/Leipzig – eine Logistikregion. In: Mitteldeutsche Wirtschaft. Das Magazin der IHK Halle-Dessau, 6/2014, S. 9.