Access to the active NRW logistics community
1. The Sector in NRW
For North Rhine-Westphalia – Germany’s economic and transport heartland – efficient logistics is its world-renowned trademark and, at the same time, the economic basis for its own industrial strength.
The logistics sector is one of the leading growth sectors in North Rhine-Westphalia and, with 21,600 businesses employing 270,000 people, ranks as one of the federal state’s largest sectors. If employees with logistics-related jobs in industrial and commercial companies are taken into account, then the amount of people engaged in the logistics sector stands at over 600,000.
North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the centre of Europe and possesses an excellent transport infrastructure. No other area in Europe possesses such an efficient and closely meshed network of motorways, roads and railways as exists in the regions between the Rhine and the Weser. In addition to its expanding freight airports, the state possesses a vital strategic waterway connection with the Rhine and its docks.
This federal state is very strong overall, and individual regions within it have developed particular logistical strengths:
· The Cologne/Bonn region is particularly strong in the fields of trade and chemicals logistics. The area also has the most important intermodal freight transhipment facility in Germany and, in Cologne/Bonn Airport, Germany's second most important freight airport.
· The Duisburg Lower Rhine region includes the districts of Wesel and Kleve, as well as Duisburg. In addition to the Rhine, which constitutes the artery of the region (docks from Emmerich via Wesel to Europe’s most important inland port – Duisburg), there are contract logistics providers here covering a whole variety of tasks. Logistics is a particular area of focus at the University of Duisburg-Essen, which has its own Centre for Logistics & Traffic (ZLV).
· The Eastern Ruhr District comprises the strong locations of Dortmund, Unna and Hamm. This region is the logistical heart of German trading logistics and also, with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML), possesses the most important research institution for logistics in Europe.
These core logistical regions are complemented by more regions boasting logistical expertise:
· The Central Ruhr District (Herne, Recklinghausen district, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis) is the chosen location for last-mile logistics. Right in the heart of the Ruhr district, the sites here are ideal for distribution operations.
· The Middle Lower Rhine (Neuss, Krefeld, Mönchengladbach) has established itself as a location for major logistics providers and is in the vanguard of the textile logistics sector.
· The Münsterland area offers logistics sites with good transport connections and has its special strengths in the nutrition, mechanical engineering and automobile construction sectors. The region is the gateway to the Ruhr district and a bridge into the Netherlands.
· The Bergische Land region, thanks to its position between the Cologne/Bonn region and the Ruhr District, is of particular importance for transport logistics. As a result, a strong logistics sector has developed here.
· The Aachen region is an attractive logistics location due to its proximity to Belgium and the Netherlands and, furthermore, is home to a research and development heavyweight– RWTH Aachen University.
· The Sauerland and Siegerland are two of the most important locations in Germany for mechanical engineering and thereby form a vital source of logistical added value.
· The East Westphalia-Lippe region is one of the most prosperous regions in the state of NRW. The furniture industry, the nutrition industry and a generally strong SME sector make this region a particularly attractive location for logistics companies and services.
2. Objectives and Tasks of the Cluster Management
The core objective of cluster activities is to bundle all the strengths in the logistics industry in the state of NRW and to develop it into the top logistics region in Europe.
The general objectives in doing this are to:
· increase the sector’s competitiveness
· market NRW as a logistics location
· secure jobs
The main tasks of the "LogistikLand NRW" cluster include:
- the establishment of a logistics community in NRW
- marketing of the state as a location and a comprehensive site policy
- generation of key future areas of technology and industry
- further development of product strategies for logistics SMEs
- improvement of the sector's image in NRW
- representation and support for members vis à vis third parties
- support for regional logistics networks and institutions
Sponsors of the cluster are the LOG-IT Club e.V. (as direct cluster association) and the Verkehrswirtschaft und Logistik NRW e.V (VVWL) association.
On 1.2.2008, the Cluster Management launched Logistics NRW under the name "Logistikland NRW", the sponsor of its activities being the LOG-IT Club e.V. in its role as cluster association, together with the VVWL e.V. Direct membership is possible through membership of the LOG-IT Club e.V. The objective of membership is to further the development of companies and of the cluster in NRW.
The NRW Logistics Cluster is a member of the Working Group of Logistics Initiatives in Germany and is represented at the relevant sector meeting points of the federal associations BVL and BME. There is also close collaboration, through the participation of the VVWL, with the carrier and logistics associations in Germany (VKS, BSL, DSLV, BGL and Amö).
3. Main Areas of Work and Projects of the Cluster
Essential for implementation are the following Working Groups (branch groups). The cluster has already established branch groups in the following fields:
- Logistics properties and locations
- Shipping and ports
- Furniture logistics
- Steel logistics
- Trading logistics
- Logistics IT
- Telematics and haulier software
- Logistics in the nutrition industry
- Marketing in logistics
Further groups are currently in the planning stage, particularly with other state clusters (e.g. Automotive, Healthcare).
The recruitment of personnel for the logistics sector also poses an increasing problem in North Rhine-Westphalia. Among other things, the Logistics Cluster NRW therefore provides information in schools and at public events on the different careers available in logistics. You can obtain clearly set-out information on the careers, among other things, on the website of one of our network members, Steuerung B GmbH: www.lebendige-logistik.de
Technical innovations and special IT systems will greatly change logistics in years to come. Particularly the Internet of Things and RFID technology will open up some completely new opportunities for logistics. Together with our members, we actively work on logistics innovations. The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of the State of NRW held a competition in support of these processes in the first half of 2008 to encourage the best ideas on logistics. The winners of the contest will be known in the autumn of 2008.
The Logistics Cluster NRW also actively supports the top cluster application of the Ruhr Metropolis for the topic area "Logistics + IT". In addition to our member Fraunhofer IML, many other members of the Logistics Cluster NRW are also actively engaged in this initiative.
Sites / Properties
The Logistics Cluster NRW actively supports its members from the field of industrial promotion in the opinion-forming process for the designation of new areas in the municipalities and, in this way, attempts to create an adequate supply of logistics sites in NRW. A joint working group with members of the cluster is to formulate and publish the demands and requirements.
The LOG-IT Club e.V. is the central networking tool of the Logistics Cluster NRW. Within the framework of the club's work, a regular meeting has been established in Dortmund for some years. Under the motto "LOG-IT Club On Site", interesting logistics locations are also visited or members presented.
Once a year, at what is known as the LOG-IT Evening, a central networking event is also held - this is mainly a get-together, so expert addresses are taboo at the LOG-IT Evening.
In the protected area of the Club's website, an extensive expertise database is also being established - here, the business interests of cluster members can be found quickly and easily.
4. Highlights from the Cluster
"Logistics Location of the Year 2009 in NRW" Competition
With the "Logistics Location of the Year 2009 in NRW" competition, the Logistics cluster created a real highlight in only the second year of its existence. The aim of the competition is to present an honorary award to municipalities, districts and alliances of not more than three locations which have in past years have given particular attention to the role of logistics in their operations. There is close media coverage of the competition by the sector's most important periodical, the DVZ – Deutsche Logistikzeitung – and it has already received nationwide attention. The prize will be presented on the NRW stand at Expo-Real in Munich in October 2009.
In January 2008, with the NRW/Logistics Index, the NRW Logistics Cluster was able to maintain constant observation of developments in the logistics sector in North Rhine-Westphalia, thus establishing another highlight. The NRW/Logistics Index is a quarterly compiled indicator which shows the internal economic situation and future for the sector. With the help of selected decision-makers from the logistics sector, a quick and uncomplicated survey method was developed. The survey is carried out using one two-page sheet. The short and succinct statements and assessment questions can be answered in a few minutes. The NRW/Logistics Index represents a special evaluation of the NRW entries in the Federal German SCI/Logistics Barometer, which permits direct comparisons with national trends. The evaluation is compiled quarterly and gives members of the cluster a real information advantage over other firms.
Logistics.NRW Promotional Competition
Another success story was the support for members of the NRW Logistics Cluster in the Logistics.NRW promotional competition in 2008. From a total of 30 entries in the competition, 18 projects were finally proposed for support by an expert jury. Winning projects also came from five members of the NRW Logistics Cluster (Setlog GmbH, LogIN GmbH, SDZ GmbH, Duisburg port, the district of Wesel). Through the steady growth of the Logistics Cluster NRW, the activities for support of its members in promotional competitions will be further expanded.
5. Regional Clusters and Networks in NRW
Existing regional networks with their own structure are the Logistics Initiative Duisburg Lower Rhine, the Logistics Initiative Mönchengladbach, the Logistics Initiative Greven, the Logistics Initiative Rhine/Erft and the last mile logistik netzwerk GmbH for Herne, Herten and Gelsenkirchen.
Regional network members in the cluster are: