To what extent are our ports implementing a cooperation concept? Professor Frank Ordemann and Professor Jan Ninnemann give their opinions on this.
Ordemann:From my perspective, this is the only true solution.
Ninnemann: In the container segment, closer cooper-ation between the ports of Hamburg, Bremen/Bremer-haven and Wilhelmshaven is only part of the solution. Hamburg and Bremerhaven, in particular, face a wide range of challenges, which the terminal operators have to address independently first of all. This includes handling costs, which are significantly higher with simultaneously lower productivity compared to competitors in Rotterdam and Antwerp.
LOGISTICS PILOT: LOGISTICS PILOT: In what areas is the cooperation concept clearly evident to you, and what measures do you think would need to be stepped up in the coming months in order to further intensify this cooperation?
Ordemann: Port cooperation, as I understand it, is an operational collaboration between the container terminals of our three major container ports; this is something that is not yet evident to me at all. To my knowledge, talks initiated in 2020 between the terminal companies and the relevant politicians, who became involved later, are on hold. The first step towards such cooperation is recognition by the decision-makers involved that all three ports would benefit from this. What’s more, that each individual port will gain greater market share in competition with the western ports proceeding this way than if they were to continue “business as usual”. This is the most important realisation that those responsible for ports need to come to first and foremost. I have my doubts as to whether this is the case for everyone as it stands. Moving on from there, everything can be implemented in line with the seven steps I outlined in my 2020 study on this subject, or via other means. But those are the specifics.
Ninnemann: The cooperation concept is primarily developing in alternative cargo segments outside container transport. German seaports are rightly regarded as the engine of energy transition. In order to meet the challenges that this entails as best possible, it is necessary to employ all resources at all German ports in close cooperation. This applies, amongst other things, to the import of green energy – for example, hydrogen or hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia – or to the creation of capacities to achieve the expansion targets for offshore wind energy.
“Port cooperation, as I understand it, […]
is not yet evident at all.”
Prof. Frank Ordemann, Head of the Institute for Logistics Management at Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Salzgitter. In 2020, he wrote a study on seaport cooperation between North German ports entitled “German ports miss competitive opportunities”.