With a 3.5 million TEU container handling capacity and business volume of over €149m, award-winning logistics operator Duisport has placed itself firmly on the map
An estimated 146 million shipping containers were transported globally in 2011, and merchant ships contribute more than $380bn in freight rates annually to the world economy. With so much at stake, and as the world’s largest inland port, Duisport naturally plays a major role in the seaborne trade industry. CEO and President Erich Staake discusses how acting as a logistic service provider has been the key to Duisport’s success, the importance of sustainability, and how emerging markets are a major opportunity for investment.
Mr Staake, congratulations on receiving the World Finance award for Best Port Development 2012.
Thank you very much. I am sure that all our employees, our management team and our stakeholders are very proud to receive this award. It proves that hard work and the consistent implementation of our strategy ultimately leads to positive results.
How would you explain the success story of Duisport?
There are two key issues which have majorly contributed to our success. First of all, the combination of maritime cargo and continental cargo handling has made Duisport the leading logistics hinterland hub in Europe.
With a direct connection via the river Rhine, Duisport represents the hinterland hub for maritime cargo from the North Sea Ports Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ZARA). Being located in the biggest industrial conurbation area, the industrial companies in the Rhein-Ruhr area supply a vast amount of continental cargo, which further stimulates the logistic services of the port. Secondly, our business model has had a major impact on our development. We are not only a typical landlord, which is the core business of every port, but we have become a logistic service provider offering full-service along the entire supply chain, as well as value-added services. These services are not taking place autonomously, but very often in close partnership with our clients. More than 300 companies are already using the port in different fields.
Finally, Duisburg lies at the central crossing point of the most important European transport corridors. From here, 150 million consumers can be reached in just eight hours.
Direct, multi-modal networking with international freight traffic underlines the port’s leading position as the gateway to European markets.
What services are offered and what type of technology does Duisport use to deliver these services?
Duisport offers full-service packages in infra and suprastructure to manufacturers and logistic service providers. One example is rail freight transport with our own railroad company, Duisport Rail. Beyond that we supervise project logistics and turnkey settlement solutions in addition to worldwide transport solutions for the investment goods industry.
We help our customers to develop intermodal concepts for the optimisation of their supply chains.
Furthermore, we offer state-of-the-art packing services. These services include efficient customised packing and transportation systems for all cargo, from small parts and hazardous products to heavy equipment, machines and even entire industrial plants. In order to effectively control the transportation routes, we have introduced an IT-based tracking and tracing system to follow the progress of our shipments around the world.
Last but not least, we are supporting our clients in building warehouse capacities, as early as the planning phase, and by accompanying them in the building process. With constant investments in our infrastructure, we provide our customers with the state-of-the-art technology they need in order to be competitive in tough global markets.
Can you talk us through some of the key trade routes that Duisport serves? Do you plan to expand internationally?
Traditionally, our major focus has been on Europe. We have developed an excellent international transport network with railway and ship connections to the ZARA ports and German sea ports as well as Eastern and Western Europe. During the past four years we have continually expanded our international scope, for example, with a direct rail link to Moscow. Since last year we also offer a direct container shuttle to Chongqing in China, which leaves Duisburg twice per week. Overall, 25 national and international railway providers and operators provide 360 weekly connections to more than 80 destinations in Europe and beyond.
We are also focusing on emerging countries where the industrial production is actually taking place; in particular Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). These are the major markets where we invest and where we are intending to expand our network. With our subsidiary Duisport Consult we provide worldwide consultancy services offering the development of infra and suprastructure for both sea and inland ports as well as for logistics centres.
A variety of consulting projects have already been requested by governments, port operators and investors around the globe. One example is the recent agreement with the Brazilian government to develop an infrastructure and logistics concept for the Sao Paolo-Santos corridor, which is the main artery for Brazilian exports between the coast and the hinterland.
What makes Duisport an excellent platform for strategic partnerships?
Duisport offers an excellent strategic position, cargo flow resources as well as innovative logistics solutions along the entire supply chain. Being a multi-purpose port, Duisport provides infra and suprastructural advantages for clients. More importantly, Duisport offers a unique international network with a multitude of partners worldwide, which is essential for the optimisation of supply chains.
As a neutral solution provider, we can offer the most efficient and cost-effective transport solutions to our customers and partners. With value-added services like multimodal transhipment terminals, warehouse and storage resources, elaborate packing, as well as market and client-oriented service concepts, we can say with that we take quality the extra mile.
What role does sustainability play in the company’s philosophy and how does Duisport work to minimise the port’s impact upon the environment?
The sustainability concept became a fundamental part of the business model for Duisport over ten years ago. A good example is the acquisition of a former Krupp steel factory.
When Krupp decided to reduce its steel production in Duisburg, we acquired an area of roughly 300 hectares, even though it was heavily contaminated. It took us several years to completely redevelop and modernise the area. Today, the former steel site has become the most modern logistics hub in Europe, called logport. Many global players such as Kühne+Nagel, DHL or Yusen have settled and continue to expand their activities here.
Sustainability also plays a big role on a daily basis. By transferring road cargo to alternative modes of transport, such as rail and barge, you always make a contribution to sustainability. Through intermodal transport concepts we manage to take up to 100,000 trucks off the road each year. Furthermore, we constantly invest in economically friendly terminal operations and modern technology, which reduces noise and pollution and lowers the demand for energy. Our very own sustainability manager makes sure that sustainability is fully integrated into our
And finally, where do you see the port heading in terms of expansion and growth overall?
As far as our business model is concerned, I believe we are well prepared for future expansion. All our business areas have strong growth potential, which is crucial for further development. As far as markets are concerned, we are beginning to expand our focus beyond the BRIC states to countries such as Turkey, Indonesia or Mexico. Industrial production as well as cargo streams in these countries will have an impact on global markets and global transportation routes as well.
Besides the international sphere, we are also very much looking for regional growth potential in the Rhine-Ruhr area. Together with the RAG, the largest coal mining corporation in Germany, we are transforming former industrial sites for logistic activities.
By doing this we intend to substantially increase our business volume of around €149m over the next five years and we aim to enhance our container handling capacity from 3.5 million TEU (20ft equivalent units) to 6.5 million TEU in the near future.
For more information: www.duisport.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: +49-203-803-0