Hamburg is a world-class logistics centre. Whether by water, rail or road, the trade flows to be mastered are gigantic and involve enormous logistics effort. The launch of Digital Hub Logistics in 2017 involved creation of a network designed to boost modernization of the sector. The hub located in the heart of Hamburg’s Warehouse City networks companies, investors, start-ups, researchers and academics in one place. Today, this is one of the largest centres for logistics alliances in Germany and Europe.
Digital Hub Logistics is run by Hamburg’s Ministry of Economics & Innovation and Hamburg Logistics Initiative. It is one of twelve hubs and forms part of the countrywide Digital Hub Initiative. Along with Bitkom, this was launched by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection in 2017. Its objective was to promote digitalization in those branches of commerce and industry relevant for Germany.
“Anybody who has visions should go to the doctor,” urged former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Johannes Berg has another idea there. Berg is CEO of Digital Hub Logistics in Hamburg – and anybody with visions has come to just the right place with him. One thing, namely is of special importance for him: “To bring together people for whom boldness outweighs anxiety, with more pleasure in winning than fear of losing.” The hub opened with ten startups; today there are 85. Together, they represent a vast spectrum of extremely varied topics such as the block chain, virtual reality, decarbonization and artificial intelligence.
Digital Hub also offers the maritime industry fresh ideas. BOXXPORT’s young entrepreneurs, for instance, optimize selling, managing and operating containers by assembling all the essential data on a single platform. Hasytec presents an innovative ultrasonic technology for merchant shipping that prevents biofilms and deposits on all liquid-carrying surfaces. Their technology not only banishes considerable quantities of CO2 and heavy metals, but also prevents the proliferation of invasive substances in alien ecological systems. In 2022 the company was nominated for the German Environment Prize.
The marine technology start-up NautilusLog set itself the task of replacing all paperwork in the maritime industry. Its platform functions for shipping as a digital logbook. The software tracks vessels automatically, generating events and tasks. Before an emission control area is reached, for example, it issues a reminder of the need to change fuel type.
Decarbonization of the industry is the gaol being pursued by the Berlin-based company zero44. Launched in May 2022, this start-up has developed a CO2-management software for merchant ships that focusses on the requirements of the new CII and the EU’s ETS regulations. zero44’s digital solution provides shipping companies with control of their ships’ emissions plus firm guidance on decision making in their commercial planning. In the light of the new regulations, for example, they can reach decisions that make most sense in terms of costs and revenue. In November, its MPC Container Ships enabled zero44 to gain one of the world’s largest containership owners as a client. From now onwards, this will be using zero44’s CO2-management solution for its entire fleet.
Digital Hub Logistics enables its 85 start-ups to benefit from assistance from 24 established companies in extremely varied areas of logistics. Among there are Nagel Group, Volkswagen Group Logistics, HHLA Next, Hamburg Port Authority, DHL and Dakosy. Digital Hub provides the opportunity for them to prepare their processes and business models for the future.
Within the hub, participants are guaranteed the greatest possible degree of freedom and flexibility. CEO Berg’s motto runs: “The companies involved occupy the driving seat in developing innovation – Digital Hub Logistics provides the vehicle.” ‘The vehicles’ consists of the formats that promote exchange and collaboration, as well as supplying the scope for trying out new ideas. Among these, for instance, are fortnightly hub lunches, workshops, competitions and the event format ‘cornering’ that facilitates sharing of successes among these young entrepreneurs and the discovery of joint solutions for problems.
“Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg is a breeding ground for clever ideas and smart innovations for the transport industry of the future,” says Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Hamburg’s First Mayor. With its cando spirit, Digital Hub Logistics has created an incredibly strong association of entrepreneurs for the digitalization of the logistics sector. For the future, the ten-strong team is determined to beef up cooperation with the other hubs in Germany and to build up an international network pursuing state-of-the art logistics. Anybody thinking about starts-ups and innovation in Hamburg, certainly needs to bear Digital Hub Logistics in mind.
Digital Hub Logistics reached a milestone in its still brief history on 8 November 2022. The move to Sandtorkai 32 enlarged this hub from 1,800 to 3,200 square metres. Over five floors in Hamburg’s Warehouse City, members will in future have available extended workshop space, a relaxation facility, excellent technical facilities, and a generous area for events.;