And the winner is... Wilhelmshaven
The Jade-Weser-Port Wilhelmshaven Freight Village (GVZ) climbed more than 30 places in the German GVZ Association (DGG) ranking last year, reaching the European top 20. A large amount of space and a dedicated management company that offers a wide range of services: these are key factors in achieving the ranking, according to Managing Director Andreas Bullwinkel.
Investors secure space
Logistics space has become scarce in Germany. But there is still room in Wilhelmshaven, says Bullwinkel: “Of a total of 160 hectares, about 60 hectares are still available. But we will have fully marketed them in the next two to three years,” he is certain. Many investors are currently reviewing their strategy. “They tend to hold land and real estate longer or build up safety reserves,” he explains. The Corona pandemic has shown that logistics chains are definitely vulnerable. The trend towards buffer stores is clearly recognisable. Reassuringly for the marketing company, it still owns a 300-hectare area that has not been touched so far.
“The past year was characterised by a really very, very good number of enquiries for space – of sizes between 2 and 20 hectares,” Mr Bullwinkel reports. He adds that in 2020 the Freight Village concluded a ground lease agreement for 20 hectares with China Logistics. “Our condition is that there is a German company involved in China Logistics’ engagement, a company which has yet to be established.” However, due to travel restrictions, the Chinese have not been able to enter Germany so far. Now everything is delayed; in reality, their project should already be under construction. “A downside of the pandemic,” he says.
The areas in the GVZ are leased exclusively by way of ground leases. The terms are between 10 and 30 years. But 75 years are also possible if the customer wishes. The advantage of this model, according to Andreas Bullwinkel, is that customers can mortgage the land. So, it is temporarily considered their property, which they do not have to return until the term expires.
“We are addressing certain industries,” says Mr Bullwinkel. What they should all have in common is their affinity with the port, so that they bring transhipment to the location. Audi and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles from the automotive sector are already here. Bullwinkel: “But we are also very interested in food and non-food companies because they trade in high-quality goods and provide good employment.” All kinds of logistics service providers are also welcome – ideally 4PL, which offer other services besides trucking and warehousing.
But the GVZ management company is not satisfied with marketing alone. “We don’t just hand over land and plans, but rather establish contacts, for example with the building and licensing authorities.” Not everyone wants this, but the Chinese partners, for example, could benefit from this support. “Managers who move here with their families are also grateful for help in finding apartments or houses, kindergartens or schools,” says Mr Bullwinkel. He regards networking potential employers with the local employment agency as a natural part of the process. In the meantime, more than 1,000 jobs have been created in the Freight Village.
The environment will benefit from the electrification of the Jade-Weser Port‘s double-track rail line, which will be completed in 2022. In addition, the GVZ sources green electricity from the local energy provider: green power generated on the nearby coast with offshore wind turbines.
„Shunting terminal 4.0“ is on its way
The location is also well positioned in terms of digitalisation. The “Shunting Terminal 4.0” project has been running since the middle of last year as part of the federal government’s Innovative Port Technologies (IHATEC) funding scheme. The aim is to ensure that rail operations can be optimised according to the requirements of container handling and from an environmental point of view, i.e. the reduction of noise and pollutant emissions. The testing of fully automatic shunting with a locomotive is in preparation. In order to minimise diesel consumption, a conventional shunting locomotive, the track systems in the Freight Village and the management software are also being adapted.
Andreas Bullwinkel is optimistic: “All in all, we can well imagine ending up even further ahead in the next DGG ranking.”
Thomas Nobel, Managing Director Deutsche GVZ-Gesellschaft (DGG), Bremen.
Location nearing full capacity
Why has the GVZ Wilhelmshaven climbed so many places in the location ranking?
Although, with its 160 hectares, the GVZ is of average size in a European comparison, it has by far the largest expansion options. There are at least an additional 300 hectares in neighbouring industrial estates that can be further developed. That is a big plus, especially since it is noticeable that many other locations have exhausted the areas available.
Has Corona slowed down the development of the Freight Village?
No, it rather spurred it on. According to the marketing status, the GVZ is now nearing full capacity, if the reservation options are taken into account. From our point of view, it is now high time to start on expanding the Freight Village. Logistics property developers have not lost momentum during the crisis, and the GVZ Wilhelmshaven benefits from this.
The double-track railway line to the Jade-Weser Port is to be electrified by the end of 2022. Why is this so important for the GVZ location?
The intermodal option is at the heart of a Freight Village. The combination of transport modes and especially the shift from road to rail is the DNA of GVZ locations. In Wilhelmshaven there is an efficient CT terminal. In my view, however, what is more important than electrification is that the conditions and transit times are attractive. Electrification will make transports even more ecological – and the quality will probably be increased again as well.
Source: DVV Media Group GmbH