Bremen is Germany’s sixth-largest industrial hub in terms of revenue. Whether the sector is aerospace, foodstuffs, automotive, shipping or steel production, Bremen has always been a major player.
The structure of Bremen’s gross domestic product (GDP) reveals how important industrial companies are for economic output and how heavily the state’s industry is geared towards exports. Bremen has extensive links with the global economy, ranking second only to Baden-Württemberg for international trading links in a comparison of Germany’s federal states. The promising potential of this industrial infrastructure lies in the successful combination of international business and sales relationships, strong regional economic ties and outstanding locational factors.
More than ever, Bremen’s ports are an important hub for the global flow of goods. They include Germany’s second-largest seaport, Germany’s seventh-largest inland port, the state-of-the-art Cruise Terminal Bremerhaven, Europe’s second-largest car terminal, which handles more than two million cars a year, and Europe’s fourth-largest container hub, which currently has 14 berths for large container ships.
Around a fifth of all jobs in the state of Bremen are connected to the ports, which also account for a fifth of revenues and a quarter of value added. Around 10,000 jobs in the surrounding area of Lower Saxony also depend on the ports.
Back in 1966 in Bremen’s Überseehafen, the US vessel Fairland delivered the first container to a German quay, kicking off a revolution in maritime transport and the transshipment of goods. Since then, the size of the ships used in international container transport has grown steadily – by 30 per cent in the past four years alone. Bremen’s ports are traditional railway ports with a well-developed rail infrastructure that features 187 kilometres of track in total. More than a million containers are transported by rail every year via inland links.
Around 50 Bremen-based port companies and industrial businesses have joined forces in Initiative Stadtbremische Häfen e.V. (ISH) to promote and strengthen the port economy. The majority of these are headquartered in Bremen’s Holz- und Fabrikenhafen and in Europahafen in Überseestadt. “Small and medium-sized businesses are pooling their interests in ISH in accordance with the ‘Bremen model’, which envisages the compatible co-existence of industry, ports, trades, services and residential areas,” says ISH managing director Heiner Heseler, summarising the initiative’s goals. Together, these businesses have revenues of around €3 billion and represent approximately 6,000 jobs.
Bremen has been an important centre of the automotive industry for generations. The first car plant in Bremen opened in 1906, and its first celebrity customer was none other than Kaiser Wilhelm II. Where Carl Borgward once built his legendary cars, Mercedes-Benz now assembles its vehicles. According to the 2018 annual statistical report, the yearly revenue generated by vehicle manufacturing (excluding ship and boat building) is around €22 billion.
With a workforce of around 12,500 people, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen is the region’s largest private-sector employer and manufactures more than 420,000 vehicles a year. As the world’s second-largest Mercedes-Benz plant, it is the centre of excellence for the C-Class, and it also manages the production ramp-up of this model in the USA (Tuscaloosa), in China (Beijing) and in South Africa (East London).
Suppliers account for around three quarters of a car’s value added. Bremen-based suppliers include Hella Group, Lear Corporation, Brose Group and Kuka Group. A few kilometres away from the Daimler plant is the busy Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate, home to many companies in the automotive sector.
Bremerhaven is not only home to Europe’s largest car transshipment centre but also to its largest car workshop, the technology centre of BLG Logistics Group. Around 500,000 export and import vehicles are inspected, processed, retrofitted and upgraded – for example with sunroofs, sat-navs, media systems or leather seats – here every year.
Bremen’s ports are also a logistics hub for the wider automotive industry. Parts and kits are dispatched from here to assembly plants all over the world. In addition to BLG, Europe’s leading automotive logistics specialist, other major companies located here include reimer logistics GmbH & Co. KG, Ipsen Logistics GmbH, Peter W. Lampke GmbH & Co. KG (PWL), Stute Logistics AG & Co. KG and Weserport GmbH. Specialised logistics centres such as DB Schenker, the Plant Consolidation Center Bremen and Lorel GmbH on the A1 motorway deliver ‘just in time’ to the assembly line.
Research into innovative solutions for the automotive sector is carried out at Bremen’s universities and the city’s excellent scientific institutions. These include the Bremen Institute for Applied Beam Technology (BIAS), the Bremen Institute for Production and Logistics (BIBA), the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Bremen Fibre Institute (FIBRE), the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM), the Leibniz Institute for Materials Engineering (IWT), the Bremen Institute for Mechanical Engineering (BIME) and, in the near future, the EcoMaT Center for Eco-efficient Materials & Technologies. Together with automotive manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, they all rely on the Automotive Nordwest e.V. network as their communications and marketing platform.
At the beginning of October, around 6,000 people attended the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, the leading conference for the international space industry. It was the second time in fifteen years that the city had hosted the event. The event underlines Bremen’s international standing as an established hub for the aerospace industry. A higher proportion of people work in the aerospace sector in Bremen than anywhere else in Germany. Around 12,000 employees across 140 companies, including major enterprises such as Airbus Group, Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH, OHB SE and their suppliers, and 20 research institutes generate revenue of more than €4 billion a year. Key products made here include wing equipment for Airbus aircraft, the upper stage of the Ariane rocket, modules for the ISS, the Galileo satellite navigation system and propulsion technology for the Orion spacecraft.
The wings for the A330 and A350 long-haul aircraft are fitted out at the Airbus plant in Bremen. The development and manufacturing centre for high-lift devices for all Airbus programmes is located here, and Germany’s second-largest Airbus site is heavily involved in the development and manufacture of the A400M transport aircraft. The cargo loading systems for the entire Airbus fleet are also designed here, and materials and process development provides an additional focus. The AVIASPACE BREMEN e.V. industry association implements the aerospace strategy of the state of Bremen and maintains close links with other high-tech sectors, including the automotive, wind energy and ship building industries.
The food and drink industry is the second most important manufacturing sector in the state of Bremen. The sector, including wholesalers, employs more than 9,000 people and generates annual revenue of around €3 billion. Mondelez, the world’s sixth-largest food company, has its German headquarters in Bremen. Numerous service providers in the areas of logistics, warehousing and transport, as well as testing laboratories and specialised research facilities, have established themselves here. Many internationally known brands originate in Bremen, and according to NaGeB, the trade association of the food and drink industry in Bremen, this sector accounts for almost 30 per cent of imports and almost 10 per cent of exports in Bremen.
The association estimates that around 400,000 tonnes of wheat, rye, corn and rice are processed and around eight million hectolitres of beer is produced in Bremen every year. The city also transships and processes more coffee than anywhere else in Germany. The range of products made in Bremen is extensive, and includes beer, wine, coffee, rice, sauces, cream cheese, fish, chocolate and pet food. Many of the brands manufactured here are household names around the world.
ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH is an integrated steelworks located to the north of Bremen on an approximately seven square kilometre site on the banks of the river Weser. It produces everything from pig iron to sheet metal. ArcelorMittal Bremen is part of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company. It is one of the region’s largest employers and reportedly has the capacity to produce over 3.5 million tonnes of steel a year. Key customers of the Bremen-based steel company include Europe’s leading vehicle manufacturers, the mechanical engineering sector and the construction, packaging and household appliance industries.
The steelworks employs around 3,200 people, of whom almost 30 per cent hold either a university degree or a master craftsman or other technical qualification. According to a recent study by the Bremen Chamber of Labour, a further 4,700 people work in jobs that are indirectly dependent on the steelworks. According to these calculations, as many as 19,000 jobs throughout Germany depend on it. ArcelorMittal Bremen generates more than 30 percent of its revenue in Bremen and almost a quarter of its suppliers are based locally, underlining the huge importance of the steel producer to the region’s economy.
Bremen-based start-up cellumation has already won various awards for its invention, but now the company is really taking off. It has developed a new conveyor system called Celluveyor, whose modular construction makes it significantly more flexible and means it requires less space than conventional systems.
Bremen without logistics – inconceivable! But what do the more than 1,000 companies that make up the sector actually do? We introduce ten logistics firms.
Enquiry, quote, order, delivery, payment – that’s the standard procedure the world over, but it doesn’t always run smoothly if the business links involved span thousands of miles. So in 2015, the Chinese Linhorn Group opened its only European branch in Bremen in order to establish better contacts with its suppliers.
Logistics is the backbone of the German economy. There are few places where this is more obvious than in Bremen and Bremerhaven, which is why companies are keen to base themselves here.
Companies that are largely unknown but are market leaders in their field – those are hidden champions. Which of these twelve hidden champions from Bremen do you know?
The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Northern Germany is a new beacon project for the aerospace sector in Bremen.
It is anything but everyday that a Libyan comes to Bremen to found a company here. But Tamim Fannoush has good reasons to choose the Hanseatic city as the starting point for his European business. And they are not only economic in nature.
In 2019, many people are seeing their energy costs rising yet again. Intelligent energy solutions that use solar panels and storage batteries can save quite a bit on electricity. And ADLER Solar from Bremen know how.
A company founder lives for his or her idea – no distance is too far and no obstacle too high. Four foreign entrepreneurs in Bremen share their passion for their vision.
Since 2011, economic relations with Turkish partners have been strengthened through the Bremeninvest office in Izmir. Kolja Umland, Project Manager for International Settlements and Erol Tüfekҫi, Director of the Bremeninvest Office in Izmir, report on the current situation.
Bremen-based Flyline can look back on two decades of success and expansion. The British Airways (BA) subsidiary began as a call centre with a 30-strong workforce. Today, Flyline employs around 400 people at Bremen airport.
Orthopaedic shoe manufacturers Indorf Orthopädie-Schuhtechnik GmbH & Co. KG in Bremerhaven successfully combine traditional products and processes with the latest advances in 3D printing.
Automotive engineering is one of the key industries in the state of Bremen. An overview of companies, institutes and initiatives at the location.
Extreme precision is the norm at Eickworth Modellbau. Major automotive companies and aerospace manufacturers rely on the services of this Bremen company whenever something needs to be accurate down to a hundredth of a millimetre.
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.
The path into space begins in Bremen. Production on the upper stage of the Ariane 6, the latest generation of Europe’s launch vehicle, is set to start shortly next to Bremen Airport. The launcher is intended to guarantee Europe independent access to space.
Esteban Bayro-Kaiser has big plans for his start-up, WearHealth. And he has no doubt that Bremen can become a leading hub for artificial intelligence technology. But what made this globetrotter choose Bremen?
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.
Bremen is expanding. Several construction projects will reshape the city centre. The 2018 Bremen property market report – an overview of office, logistics and retail properties, and of investment market trends – confirms that the city is an attractive location for investors and developers.
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.
Nowhere in Germany is bigger in the aerospace industry than Bremen. We spoke to Bremen-based scientists working on the space side of aerospace about their projects, their life in the city, and their tips on where to live and where to visit.
Every year, the movers and shakers of the space industry gather at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). From 1 to 5 October, it will be Bremen’s turn to host the event. A team from the Center of Applied Space Technology and ...
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.
We don’t normally get to see Littelfuse’s products. And yet there’s hardly any electronic device that doesn’t require components from this global market leader. The European headquarters of the US firm are located in Bremen. And they’re far more than just a sales office.
It was a cold February evening when Paramjit Kohli first came to Bremen from India – and he loved it immediately. Read on to find out why he founded a company here and what lessons he has learned over the past year.
Stathis Stasinopoulos built his first bike so that he could get to and from work in Athens more easily. At the time, he could not have imagined that his idea would see him set up his own business in Bremen. We visited the entrepreneurial engineer in his new workshop in the north of Bremen.
Fish fingers have been made in Bremerhaven for almost 60 years. Over this period, they have withstood all food trends and are more popular today than ever before. On average, each German consumer eats 24 of them a year. And they were probably made in Bremerhaven, the fish finger capital.
The exploration of celestial bodies, such as Mars, Mercury and the moon, requires detailed geological maps. An international research project is now laying the foundations for this. Bremen-based geologist Dr Angelo Pio Rossi is one of the initiators of the data project.
The construction of the complex new EcoMaT research and technology centre at Airport-Stadt Bremen is at an advanced stage. Prospective tenants include Airbus and Testia, as well as a number of leading medium-sized businesses and scientific institutions. After the topping-out ceremony, work will get under way on the interior of the building.
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.
How will we be working in the future? Daimler’s Innolab in Bremen’s Überseestadt district provides an answer to this question. And anyone can come and see it.
Space is not just a man’s business. The global network Women in Aerospace (WIA) aims to increase women’s leadership opportunities and visibility in the space industry – also in Bremen. An interview with Antonella Sgambati und Michela Cantisani, coordinators of WIA Bremen.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is ideally situated for businesses in the automotive industry, located in the immediate vicinity of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen just off the A1 autobahn. But it also offers a number of benefits for service providers, trading companies and the skilled trades. If you want to set up business here, you need to act quickly.
Artificial intelligence isn’t just a matter of computer programming. It’s a challenging question: how can a robot successfully deal with real, unpredictable surroundings? For 30 years, solutions to this problem have been developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). This Bremen-based facility has been so successful that its employees are now founding their own company.
In April 2018, Team Beverage AG moved its headquarters from Wildeshausen in Lower Saxony to Bremen. The company provides services to the drinks industry in wholesale, retail and the catering and convenience sectors. Now, its success story is set to continue at Bremen Airport-Stadt with the relocation of its head office and 90 or so employees.
Mercedes-Benz in Bremen is the lead plant that manages C-Class production around the world. In addition to detailed planning and tight logistics, this also requires a good intuitive understanding of the market. Whether it is in China, South Africa or the USA, the sites around the world have to produce vehicles of consistently high quality. Find out here how the plant manages this.
Batteries are indispensable in our day-to-day life. But when they run out of energy, they become an environmental challenge. As the global leader in the recycling of household batteries, Bremerhaven-based company Redux GmbH is ready to take on this challenge. What’s more, the firm has now developed a method to deal with lithium-ion batteries.
Bremen Airport-Stadt is an international transport hub and a centre of excellence for the aerospace industry and for research and learning. It occupies a leading position among Germany’s airport locations. Here are ten benefits that Bremen Airport-Stadt offers.
Whenever you need to dispose of old clothes, shoes or electronic waste, you will often throw them into a recycling container. Most people have no idea that a large number of these containers are made by Bremen-based company JO-BA, which has established itself as a brand across Europe. Now the company has its sights set on greater sustainability.
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.
Wind energy, geophysics, translation, design and communication – we portray five diverse women, who have successful careers and shared their fascinating stories with us. What is their industry and working life like? What motivates them? Why Bremen?
The production line hardly ever stops at the second-largest Mercedes Benz plant in the world. Thousands of components have to be delivered to the right place at the right time – there is no room for errors or delays. LOREL Logistik GmbH undertakes a huge logistics operation every day to ensure that everything runs like clockwork.
One day, astronauts will live and carry out research on the moon – and even a colony on Mars is no longer the distant utopian dream it once was. But how will people be able to live in an extraterrestrial environment? The Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen is working on a solution.
Fatih Özdemir has furniture made in Turkey and sells it to customers mainly in Africa and the Middle East. In theory, he could run his business from anywhere in the world, but there are good reasons why he chose to relocate to Bremen and found Brefeo Hanse GmbH.
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.
Working on your laptop while the car takes care of the steering? This could well be the future for car travel. Teams in Bremen are working towards this end goal, with scientists from the university taking their first test car out on the road. Their expertise in aerospace comes in handy here too.
Space technologies have advanced greatly in recent years, leading to increasing demands from the business and research sectors. To meet these requirements, Bremen University now offers unique master’s degrees in Space Engineering and Space Sciences and Technologies.
Formula Student is a world-wide competition for self-built racing cars, with the season’s final race held at Hockenheim. A Bremen-based team has been taking part in the competition with an electric racing car since 2013, and their ambitious goal is to break into the top ten.
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
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.
An engine under the bonnet drives the wheels – this is the configuration that has been powering cars for over a hundred years. However, wheel hub motors – i.e. motors in the hub of the wheel, not under the bonnet – promise many advantages. Electric drive systems make this possible.
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’.
The multi-million-mile journey of the Ariane 5 rocket begins in Bremen, while that of Spacelab came to an end here in 1999, after 15 years of service with 22 missions to outer space. Ariane Group in Bremen is the ideal place to experience the history of space travel.
A great deal of manual labour goes into aircraft construction. Despite this – or perhaps even because of it – Airbus is changing its approach to make increased use of digital technologies. It’s also researching the applications of new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. And not a moment too soon, as Airbus’ site manager in Bremen, Dr André Walter, explains in our interview.
GeoSea, a subsidiary of the Belgian DEME group, is helping to construct of some of the largest offshore wind farms in the German North Sea – and in Bremen, the company has found the ideal location to carry out its work.
Environmentally friendly manufacturing and ethical standards are the principles on which the fair trade clothing sector is based. Leela Cotton, a successful German-Turkish textile company, produces clothes for children and adults that are not only stylish, but also make a positive contribution to the environment in the way they are manufactured.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is a successful business park that is currently undergoing expansion. Several major logistics companies have based themselves here, developing increasingly sophisticated processes that aim to optimise just-in-sequence production for the automotive industry.
Weatherproof displays for transport services, and screens that don’t produce glare in bright sunlight – these are just some of the devices provided by AlfaNet Computer und Electronic Handels GmbH, a Bremen-based company founded nearly 25 years ago by Thomas Lie.
They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
A car plant seldom comes alone. Many suppliers have based themselves in close proximity to the automotive giant Mercedes Benz in Bremen. They ensure that the assembly line never stops. We demonstrates the wide range of companies and technologies that make up Bremen's automotive supply chain
No fewer than ten Mercedes-Benz models proudly bear the seal 'Made in Bremen'. They range from standard saloons to sports cars and SUVs. Which one do you like best?
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.
In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.
The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.
In 2015 Bremen won the right to host the International Astronautical Congress for the second time, after having successfully held the event in 2003. Its bid was the result of a collaboration between the Bremen regional government and Bremen’s space industry and space research sector. Event partners include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Centre.
The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.
Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.
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.
David Zhou came to Bremen three years ago with the aim of conquering the market – and a new continent – with LEDs. He started his business selling LED lighting and electronics at the World Trade Centre at Bremen Airport and has gradually built it up over the past few years.
What makes an aircraft fly? You don't have to be an aerospace expert to be fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes at one of the largest aircraft construction companies in the world. The Airbus Group in Bremen turns the dream of flying into ...
Whichever C-Class model the German or European customer chooses, one thing is for sure: it will be manufactured in Bremen, the centre of excellence for the C-Class. Fans of open-top driving will also be delighted to see that the new C-Class convertible ...