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18 December 2020 - Ben Endlich

The Cargo Distribution Centre (GVZ) in Bremen: a logistics hub with a bright future

Maritime economy and logistics

The Cargo Distribution Center (GVZ) in Bremen is close to road and rail links
The Cargo Distribution Center (GVZ) in Bremen is close to road and rail links © WFB/Ring

For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Center in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Opened in the mid-1980s, it was Germany’s first ‘freight village’ and broke new ground in freight transportation. Today more than 160 companies employing approximately 8,700 people are based at the site. It covers an area of around 500 hectares and now offers four different options for transporting freight. The site has optimum transport links to road, rail and water, and is extending its range of services to include air freight, thanks to its proximity to Bremen City Airport. Bremen’s Cargo Distribution Center is also the only terminal for integrated road-rail transport in Germany that operates purely within the private sector.

The Cargo Distribution Center in Bremen has an impressive track record in various rankings. Germany’s first GVZ site is still a leading freight village and has become a model for similar operations in Germany and around the world. Studies show that it is one of Europe’s leading international logistics hubs. Bremen’s Cargo Distribution Center has been ranked the leading centre by DGG, the umbrella organisation of German Cargo Distribution Center operators, for many years. Since 2020, it is also the number one in Europe, having ranked second in both 2010 and 2015.

From road to rail – the terminal for integrated road-rail transport
From road to rail – the terminal for integrated road-rail transport © WFB/Jens Lehmkühler

Excellent location with good connections

A fundamental strength of the Cargo Distribution Center in Bremen is its geographical location. It is situated at the heart of the North Range ports and offers direct links to the ports in Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven. Its location is strategically important for inland transport. The 281 autobahn makes the site even more accessible. As well as improving the flow of traffic, it links Bremen directly to the JadeWeserPort via the B6 and A28/A29 and from 2025 will also connect the A1 and A27. The direct link to the A27 will save time and money and be advantageous for container traffic to Bremerhaven.

Development potential for logistics-related companies

In addition to being home to Europe’s largest high-bay warehouse and to global players in logistics, the Cargo Distribution Center in Bremen attracts transport businesses, service providers and logistics companies, as well as the industrial enterprises and retailers that take advantage of their services. According to Bremeninvest’s real-estate market report (German), the volume of logistics space at the Cargo Distribution Center has increased to over 1.3 million square metres.

High-quality plots of varying sizes are available at the Cargo Distribution Center for companies looking to relocate or establish operations.

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Opportunities for collaboration

The Cargo Distribution Center is not your average industrial estate. It has been designed to make the most of the opportunities for collaboration between the companies based here. This important function is managed by the Cargo Distribution Center Development Agency (GVZe), which serves as an initiator and facilitator for business collaborations.

The GVZe represents the interests of companies based at the Cargo Distribution Center and which are partners in the GVZe. The association acts as a service and communications platform between the partners themselves and vis-à-vis the general public. The range of services the GVZe offers its partners, from representing their interests and offering business support to facilitating joint research and providing hands-on project management, and the degree to which its services are taken up, is unique among Germany’s freight villages.

A look to the future

The further expansion of integrated transport, which connects Germany’s sea ports to the rest of Germany and as far as Italy, will continue to play an important role in the future. Then there are areas of innovation such as hydrogen and liquefied natural gas, technologies that are intended to help the freight sector bridge the gap to the future. The first liquefied natural gas filling station is scheduled to open at the end of 2020. The strategy for the future is complemented by innovative distribution concepts, such as the Urban-Bre pilot project. Going forward, deliveries intended for Bremen city centre will be collected before being dispatched together. Electric cargo bikes will then take over the last-mile delivery, with the aim of making distribution more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

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