German ports offer too little logistics space


Hanna Behn, 17 May 2022


Due to disruptions in the supply chains, there are delays and backlogs at the ports, among other things in sea freight. Scarce parking spaces are a problem.

At the end of April, the first ship jams were also reported off the German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven; container freighters have to wait several days or even weeks for clearance at the ports. The reason is the tense supply chains worldwide due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The situation will soon come to a head: China is expected to relax the currently rigid corona measures in Shanghai in June, which would also bring port operations back to normal. Experts predict that numerous ships will then set course for Europe.

Even now, Hamburg is barely keeping up with the handling of containers; staff and space are in short supply. The shortage of logistics space in ports is partly homemade, according to the logistics real estate consultancy Logivest.

Little new construction activity recorded

As Logisvest investigated on the basis of new logistics buildings in 178 ports in Germany's top logistics regions, 1.2 million square metres of new logistics space were added in German ports in the years from 2017 to 2021. Compared to a total of 26 million square metres of newly built space in the whole of Germany, this is only a share of 4.6 per cent. Within a radius of two kilometres around the port, the share increases to 2.9 million square metres.

New construction development in Germany as a whole and port areas 2017-2021

"The low level of new construction and the resulting lack of logistics space in Germany's ports threatens to become a major challenge for the expansion of trimodal logistics," warns Kuno Neumeier, CEO of Logivest Group. Trimodal logistics - the interlinking of road, rail and shipping - is considered a "central building block for achieving sustainable logistics that minimises CO2 emissions, Logisvest adds. "To date, however, the discussion about sustainable logistics real estate has been limited primarily to the operation and construction of real estate," Neumeier notes. 

Instead, the ports would provide unneeded land, among other things for new residential areas. "In doing so, the ports often cut their own flesh. For residential development not only threatens the commercial building rights of the land reservoirs still remaining in the port area. Port logistics are also not compatible with residential development due to other noise and emission specifications. Trouble is usually pre-programmed here," says the real estate consultant. In his opinion, many port areas offer potential for more modern logistics use; among other things, brownfield sites could be revitalised.

Source: Logistik-Watchblog