In terms of its geography, economy and its culture, the Bremen region has close connections with the sea. Thanks to its favourable location on the Weser river and North Sea and its centuries of history as a Hanseatic trading power, Bremen has become of the most important locations in Germany and around the world for the maritime economy. The fourth-largest container port in Europe (second-largest in Germany) handles huge volumes of goods, which are processed and transported by some 40,000 people working for more than 1,300 companies across Bremen and Bremerhaven.
The maritime sector accounts for more than 30 per cent of Bremen's economy. It is a pillar of the local and regional economy and is hugely important for the rest of Germany and for Europe as a whole. The Bremen ports are a key hub for intercontinental trade and are driving growth in the maritime sector.
Five northern German states – one maritime cluster
Northern Germany's maritime cluster (Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland, MCN) is a unique maritime network that brings together strong partners as well as more than 250 members from the fields of business and research. It has at its disposal a broad range of maritime expertise covering every aspect of the value chain.
Numerous research organisations, institutes and networks play a key supporting role in the maritime economy and together form a unique innovation cluster.
Logistics is another key part of the economy in Bremen. Bremen's ports offer a total of 1,486 hectares of logistics space. This outstanding infrastructure is ideal for companies looking to establish operations in the region. Five logistics centres with different specialisms and more than 1,300 companies with 20,000 employees help to transport goods seamlessly from A to B.
The proximity of the production sites to the ports, the outstanding infrastructure, the geographical location and the logistical capacities are just some of the advantages that Bremen has to offer. Bremen is one of the world's foremost shipping and transportation hubs. Its cargo distribution centre, meanwhile, is the largest in Germany and the second biggest in Europe. Bremen is also home to Europe's biggest warehouse.
The VIA BREMEN network represents the interests of the port and logistics industries in Bremen. As a platform for coordination, information and communications, it forms a bridge with organisations involved in research and policymaking and with the public at large. It also strengthens Bremen's capacity for innovation through partnerships in the fields of training and research. Bremeninvest is a sponsor of the VIA Bremen Foundation.
The state of Bremen covers 420 square kilometres and is home to around 670,000 people. Almost 22,000 companies provide more than 325,000 jobs. Below, we introduce some of the strong sectors that that make Bremen such an excellent business location.
Bremen is Germany’s sixth-largest industrial hub in terms of revenue. Whether the sector is aerospace, food, automotive, shipping or steel production, Bremen has always been a major player.
At her company Sabine Grimm Yacht & Interior Design, the passionate sailor from Hastedt, Bremen, offers 65,000 fabric samples – to the delight of yacht designers from all over the world who can find many rarities in Grimm’s treasure trove of textiles.
Europe’s largest terminal for breakbulk and heavy-lift cargo is located in Neustadt port. After Antwerp, Bremen’s ports are the second most important transshipment hub in Europe for forestry products, steel products and machinery. The federal state of Bremen is preparing for the future in a highly competitive market.
Global commerce would be impossible without shipping, and wind farms at sea are indispensable for energy provision on land. Yet maritime transport systems and infrastructure are exposed to a wide range of risks. The German Aerospace Centre’s (DLR) new institute in Bremerhaven aims to identify these risks and work with businesses to develop safeguards.
The depths of the ocean remain one of the last great mysteries on Earth. What is the precise composition of the seafloor? What flora and fauna inhabit it? Where has the delicate balance of the ecosystem been seriously disrupted? We still don’t have complete answers to any of these questions, but four young scientists from Bremen are aiming to change that.
Unloading shipping containers requires manual work, which is pretty unusual in the automated and digitalised world of logistics. But a Bremen-based research project aims to change all this with its IRiS robot.
Shipbuilding is a key sector of Bremen’s maritime economy. Bremen and Bremerhaven are home to prestigious international suppliers as well as innovative young companies. We present 13 companies involved in shipbuilding from all stages of the process chain.
Bremen-based company Home & Marine works in a sector that generates huge interest, but is often shrouded in secrecy – it builds complex entertainment systems for mega-yachts. The company is reluctant to speak about customers and orders, but since it was founded just over 25 years ago, Home & Marine has worked on more than 100 yachts.
The research alliance ROBEX is sending robots up active volcanoes and down into the deepest and darkest seas. Working across disciplines, the 120 scientists of the 16 institutes involved are breaking new ground on this project. They have been eagerly waiting to find out what has happened to the TRAMPER diving robot, which has been exploring the deep seas around Spitsbergen for a year. Now they are ready to bring it back.
A growing number of companies are becoming more aware of their social and environmental footprint, and are looking for ways to act with greater environmental and social responsibility. Germany’s north-west is set to become the national centre for social entrepreneurship in logistics. A new platform is under development and the first round of events is being planned to achieve this goal.
In the space of just a few years, the maritime city of Bremerhaven has developed into a service centre for the seafaring and shipbuilding industry. At the centre of it all is the company German Dry Docks, whose managing director, Guido Försterling, has already heralded the era of ‘seafaring 4.0’.
How will the UK’s impending exit from the EU affect the logistics sector? Günther Hörbst, Managing Director of the Via Bremen Foundation, on the economic links between the United Kingdom and the EU
BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG’s AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven is a record-breaking automotive hub. Every year, the terminal handles some 2.3 million vehicles. But that’s not all.
For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Centre in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Today more than 150 companies employing approximately 8,000 people are based at the site. It offers direct links to the ports, the autobahn and has a close proximity to Bremen City Airport.