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Positive result during the coronavirus pandemic year – Successfully through the crisis: duisport closes the 2020 financial year with record results.

  • Result improves by 6.9%
  • Strong growth in container handling volumes
  • Turnover (total output) remains at previous year’s level
  • EUR 39 million in investments

The diversified business model of the duisport Group really proved itself in the coronavirus crisis year of 2020. Even though the general economic environment continued to deteriorate due to the two lock-downs in 2020, the duisport Group was able to stay the course during the financial year and reported an improved result despite slightly lower sales revenues. The total handling volume decreased slightly compared to the previous year, not least because of the drop in coal and steel volumes due to the structural transformation on the Rhine and Ruhr.

Growth in container handling continues

“In the first quarter of 2021, we are again recording an extremely positive development in container handling with an increase of 7%. In this respect, it is essential and targeted to expand the handling capacities in the Port of Duisburg for further growth,” says Erich Staake, Chairman of the Executive Board of Duisburger Hafen AG.

Positive numbers, positive outlook

In 2020, the duisport Group generated sales revenues of EUR 292.0 million ((EUR 292.6 million in 2019) and thus remains just at the previous year’s level. The operating result (EBITDA) improved by 1.1% from EUR 43.9 million to EUR 44.3 million. The net profit after taxes increased from EUR 13.3 million in 2019 to EUR 14.2 million. This represents an increase of 6.9%.

Container handling at record levels

During the 2020 financial year, container handling volumes grew by 5% to 4.2 million TEU (previous year: 4.0 million). Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, some divisions reported significant growth.

Total handling volume stable

In line with the Executive Board’s forecasts from the previous year, the duisport Group only suffered minimal losses during the first coronavirus year with regard to the total handling volume. Compared to the previous year, the volume declined by three percent. Goods handling in the port reached a volume of 59 million tonnes in 2020. In 2019, this figure was 61.1 million tonnes.

Development of the four divisions

The Packing Logistics division was the most affected by the coronavirus crisis. Sales revenues in this business segment declined by 14.9%. This division contributed EUR 86.8 million to total sales revenues. The big drop in industry exports was accompanied by a significant decline in orders, which had to be compensated.

On the other hand, the Contract Logistics division reported significantly higher sales revenues of EUR 33.8 million (+13.8%).

The Infra and Superstructure division remained stable and closed the year with a slight increase of 0.3% to reach a value of EUR 53.6 million (compared to EUR 53.5 million in the previous year).

The Logistics Services segment also saw strong growth of 13%. Bookings in this segment reached EUR 85.8 million in 2020, after EUR 75.9 million in 2019 – new transport products from duisport agency GmbH (dpa) have made this success possible.

Additional investments

In the pandemic year that was 2020, the Port of Duisburg invested approximately EUR 39 million in capital and financial assets. Last year, investments totaled EUR 26.4 million. “In the next three years, we plan to invest 170 million euros,” says Erich Staake.

Approximately EUR 1 billion has been invested over the last 20 years. Most of this has been financed from own funds.

China traffic up 70 percent

Rail-based freight traffic with China grew by approximately 70 percent during the past financial year. In 2019, an average of 35 to 40 trains traveled between Duisburg and China. But starting in the second quarter of 2020, the Port of Duisburg registered an increase of up to 60 trains a week. In 2020, more than 10,000 trains traveled on these routes. They transported more than 1 million containers to 21 countries and 92 cities in Europe.

Over 50,000 jobs depend on the Port of Duisburg

The importance of stable and viable workplaces becomes particularly obvious during times of crisis. In this vein, the logistics sector has repeatedly proven itself to be a stable sector. The industry is one of the fastest growing and diversified sectors worldwide, with an enormous innovative capacity. Currently, more than 600,000 workplaces in North Rhine-Westphalia are connected to the logistics industry.

A total number of 51,580 employees are currently directly or indirectly dependent on the Port of Duisburg, as demonstrated by a new study by well-known Berlin market research institute Regionomica GmbH. In the year 2006, at the time of the first study, this figure was 36,000 workplaces. After the start of logport I 22 years ago, only around 19,000 local and regional workplaces were attributed to the port. Since then, the job effect has grown by 32,000 viable workplaces – and that number continues to increase.

Thanking our employees for their hard work

“By combining our forces, we have been able to keep the Port of Duisburg fully operational over the course of three lock-downs. The Executive Board would like to thank all employees who are maintaining the transport and supply chains day and night, even as they have to endure personal restrictions. Our teams in the terminals, the main administration office and external locations all gave their best. For this, they deserve gratitude and respect,” says Markus Bangen, Member auf the Executive Board.

20 years of structural transformation are paying off

The restructuring of the Duisburg port authority into a multi-model logistics hub has been successful. Each of the 22 years has been marked by steady growth thanks to the full-service expertise, a consistent focus on becoming the largest provider of logistics and commercial real estate on the Rhine and Ruhr, and finally the steadily growing national and international networking activities with partners and customers. Here are some indicators as a comparison:

  • In 1999, sales revenues were EUR 27 million – in 2020, this figure has increased to EUR 292 million.
  • An operating result of EUR 7.2 million was reported in the balance sheet for the first time in the year 2000. In the past 2020 financial year, this figure has increased to EUR 44.3 million.
  • In 1999, the Duisburg port company had around 200 employees. In 2020, it had over 1,600 employees.
  • Over one billion euros of investments in the last 20 years (mainly financed from own funds).

Coal and steel continue their decline

In the 2020 financial year, total handling volumes including private commercial ports were approximately 110.4 million tonnes (2019: 123.7 million tonnes). This represents a significant decline, which is due to the politically-motivated reduction in coal handling volumes. In addition to the loss of coal volumes resulting from the closure of coal power plants and overall lower demand for imported coal in the context of the energy transformation, the struggling steel industry also contributes to the reduction in volumes. The drop in coal and steel/iron is particularly noticeable in the vessel segment, although mineral oils/chemicals were also below the previous year’s level.

Expansion of network, guaranteed capacity to act

During the first quarter of 2020, and despite the lock-downs, the duisport Group continued to pursue its on-going projects and long-term objectives without interruption. The access points to global markets were actually expanded with additional Chinese destinations. The fact that all of the major logistics hubs in Europe and Asia are now an essential part of the global duisport network became particularly evident in the second half of the 2020 financial year.

By implementing special measures, duisport responded very early to the imminent breakdown of supply chains, which allowed it to compensate for these effects.

The port continuously operated at 100 percent during the first year of the coronavirus. “Flexibility, speed and especially customized solutions were and continue to be fundamental attributes of the Port of Duisburg, which has benefited our partner and customer network in particular. We always have to think ahead, and it is particularly during crisis situations that we benefit from a stable business acumen. And that is also reflected in our 2020 balance sheet,” says Erich Staake.

“Despite these stable developments, we are also realistic and maintain a sense of proportion. The pandemic is far from over, and we must strengthen our business for a somewhat uncertain future. It is also why, at the end of last year, we set the stage for upcoming developments at various levels of the company, and why we entered into partnerships and made investments so that we can continue to act as an important driving force and drive infrastructure developments forward in 2021,” continues Erich Staake.

Central hub and network expansion

The development of the Port of Duisburg as an important logistics hub for Asian transport in Europe was once again a key growth driver in the past year. This development process has been steady and also recalls the first days of the company’s own structural transformation: In 1998/99, the Japanese logistics company Yusen was the first anchor tenant in the new logport I logistics hub – today, Yusen operates across Europe from its location in Rheinhausen and is one of the main businesses at duisport.

In crisis times, global connectivity is a reliable indicator for the port’s guaranteed viability and its capacity to act. Particularly medium-sized companies rely on duisport’s expertise to obtain effective access to new Asian business opportunities.

Major projects 2020

logport model for Trieste

In mid-2020, Duisburger Hafen AG, together with the port authority of Trieste and the local financial holding Friulia S.p.A. (Friulia), prepared an investment in the hinterland of the largest Italian Adriatic port. The investment objective is “Interporto di Trieste S.p.A.” (Interporto), a company within the port alliance of the Port of Trieste.

Interporto operates three logistics facilities in and around Trieste, all with very good rail connections and a total area of almost one million square meters, plus approx. 130,000 square meters of storage space. Offered services include customs clearing and in particular the development of intermodal and logistics concepts, as well as targeted land developments in the Trieste port area. The negotiations that took place in 2020 were based on a strategic collaboration between duisport and the Trieste port authority, which has been in place since the summer of 2017.

In this way, the experience and success from the Duisburg logport model also benefit the further development of a European hub around the largest port in northern Italy. This is where exports from central Europe are connected to the maritime Silk Road.

PSA and duisport open new perspectives

At PSA’s behest, a joint venture was concluded in Singapore in the first quarter of 2021, which has been heralded as “ground-breaking” and “globally unique” by the two partners: duisport, the world’s largest container hub in the hinterland, and PSA Northeast Asia Supply Chain Pte Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the globally leading port group PSA (locations: Singapore/Antwerp, 30 ports globally), established a joint venture in the first quarter of 2021, after two years of negotiation. Based in Singapore, Multimodal Investments Pte Ltd. is supposed to invest in multimodal logistics facilities in Asia to improve the connectivity and trade flows between Europe and Asia. While PSA brings excellent experience with digital logistics to the table, duisport’s logport expertise and large customer network are highly sought after in Europe.

Initial projects under the new collaboration include a multimodal logistics hub in the world’s largest industrial metropolis Chongqing (China). It is being built over an area of 33 hectares, which means that it is similar in size to logport II. Another initiative concerns the expansion of a network of 13 Chinese railway terminals along the International Land Sea Corridor. In this way, duisport is directly involved in the joint development of new digital connections for trade flows in Asia, and the planning and marketing of a logistics hub. Both engagements open up new possibilities for optimizing rail traffic between Asia and Europe, and they are also expected to provide European e-Commerce companies with new opportunities on Chinese soil.

Moving semi-trailers towards rail!

At the end of the last financial year, Duisburger Hafen AG acquired a stake in Leipzig-based railway technology company CargoBeamer AG. Both companies are committed to moving freight transport from road onto rail, especially via semi-trailers. All based on innovative logistics products. Semi-trailers already account for around 40 percent of truck freight transport and require a special loading technology to be transported by rail. With its new handling technology, CargoBeamer offers a first-rate solution. It has developed into a ground-breaking concept for environmentally-friendly and sustainable transportation concepts,” says the duisport Executive Board: “We are very pleased that our shareholders have decided to move beyond the already existing successful partnership to approve a stake in the company!”

The new technology could also be used to continue a duisport success story: While around 72 percent of all freight traffic in Europe is moved by road, on average, this share has dropped to only 50 percent at duisport thanks to a multimodal long-term strategy. Using CargoBeamer and other rail transport innovations, this figure is supposed to be reduced to an ultimately unavoidable 25 percent.

Successful partnership: New parking areas for trucks City of Duisburg / duisport present action plan

The action plan for truck transport was presented in Duisburg at the end of August 2020. With its help, the burden of parked trucks on residents in the vicinity of logistics locations, which has increased in recent years, will be significantly reduced – the plan was developed jointly by the city and duisport.

In addition to immediate measures with short-term effects, including selective parking bans in particularly congested areas and towing measures as well as the installation of mobile toilet facilities to improve the situation of drivers, the action plan is primarily aimed at finding a long-term solution. This will be achieved by means of a triple approach of “promoting” (legal and attractive parking facilities with sanitary rooms), “requiring” (no-parking zones, controls at illegal hotspots, fines), and “informing” (digital traffic flow management, prioritized routes in navigation devices, low-threshold social/charitable work).

DIG – Project status: Walsum link road, Meiderich bypass

On 7 September 2020, Duisburger Infrastrukturgesellschaft mbH (DIG) – which was established as a joint venture between the city (75 percent) and the port (25 percent), broke ground and gave the start signal for the road construction project “Walsum link road”. “The construction of the new South-West link road Hamborn/Walsum represents an important initiative for reducing through traffic on the main roads of the Fahrn and Marxloh districts. Together with the additionally provided truck parking lot in logport VI in Walsum, this measure will provide long-term relief for local residents,” says DIG Managing Director and duisport Executive Board member Prof. Thomas Schlipköther.

As the joint infrastructure company of the City of Duisburg and duisport, DIG was engaged by the city for the construction of the link road.

logport VI: DSV and Maersk

At the beginning of 2020, DSV (one of the world’s leading logistics groups) announced that it would build a mega distribution center in logport VI. Commissioning is expected to take place in the summer of 2021, with over 300 new workplaces created. The use concept

provides for a land parcel of 12 hectares, which will initially feature a 56,000 square meter building with 76 dock doors.

Another successful addition was announced by the duisport Group in December 2020: In the future, multinational container logistics company Maersk and duisport will join forces to build and operate a new distribution and logistics center in the north of Duisburg. The new building is supposed to be planned and constructed in short order. Maersk will use more than 100,000 square meters in logport VI. The new addition will create 350 new workplaces.

Excellent training facility

In 2020, the duisport Group was once again certified as an “Excellent Training Facility”. This is the fifth year in a row that the Port of Duisburg has received this quality seal. Trainees at the company participated in an anonymous survey and answered around 100 detailed questions about the quality of their education. The main criteria for the quality review include, among other things, specific training contents, the way trainees are treated in the company, as well as future and promotion opportunities.

A total of eleven different training professions are currently offered at the duisport Group. From specialist for port logistics, real estate agent, IT specialist, timber mechanic to switchman and locomotive engineer. At the world’s largest hinterland container hub, there is great demand for well-trained experts; with its wide range of training opportunities, duisport also focuses on specialist and niche occupations.

The number of women who work in logistics at duisport is steadily increasing. As of the 2020 financial year, the proportion of female trainees in the duisport Group is 30.77 percent, which is higher than the average.

“Even during the coronavirus crisis, we remain a reliable partner for training and further education”, concludes the duisport Executive Board.


New record despite crisis year: In 2020, the duisport subsidiary startport continued to strengthen its enormous attractiveness as a logistics innovation hub. New record despite coronavirus pandemic: The fifth generation of 30 new founders moved into the startport headquarters in the Duisburg interior port. startport’s visibility is also growing, both at the national and international level. For example, nine out of the 30 start-ups come from other European countries.

Four awards

Four start-ups that were supported by startport in the last few years did extremely well at well-known industry awards in 2020. The companies HEUREMO, gapcharge, ViSenSys and ForkOn impressed the jury of the Telematik Awards, the Digital Logistics Awards and at the national competition “OUT OF THE BOX.NRW” and garnered prize monies totaling EUR 40,000. In this way, startport once again confirms its relevance for the industrial location Duisburg and for the innovative logistics solutions of tomorrow.

“Our startport concept is a win-win for all participants: The start-ups are able to apply their ideas directly at established companies, while the Port of Duisburg and the entire partner network are able to access the newest industry innovations. This strengthens our entire duisport network and innovative power,” says startport Managing Director Peter Trapp.


In Germany, the logistics sector accounts for approximately 20% (2019) of emitted greenhouse gases. The Port of Duisburg has long been serious about its responsibility to contribute to climate protection and to develop measures that continuously reduce emissions.

The action fields Modal Shift, Air, Noise + Climate, along with the energy supply and resources segment, play a key role in this regard. Specifically, duisport – in its role as Europe’s major hinterland hub – mainly sees its expertise in the provision of the required infrastructure and creating connections between the relevant partners, customers and stakeholders along the supply chain.

In 2020, duisport also initiated two additional major projects that make an exemplary contribution to climate-friendly energy use.

LNG – Fuel station with Rolande

In October 2020, Duisburger Hafen AG and Rolande, a pioneer and market leader in the development of infrastructures for liquefied natural gas for trucks and bio-LNG in the Netherlands, announced their collaboration for the construction of an LNG fuel station in the Port of Duisburg. The new Rolande LNG station is available for all LNG-operated utility vehicles. In this way, duisport promotes the use of environmentally-friendly LNG in the port to reduce local emissions.

5G test field research project

With the project “5G.Logport Duisburg”, duisport, the City of Duisburg and the University Duisburg-Essen applied to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for funding to construct a 5G test field in the port in 2020. The objective is to develop innovative digital logistics solutions together with customers and partners, up to the point of market maturity. As the start-up accelerator, the duisport subsidiary startport plays a key role in this context, so that the value chains of the entire duisport network can benefit.

PSA and duisport team up to invest in multimodal logistics facilities in Asia and enhance Europe-Asia connectivity

Innovation driver duisport – Climate protection: Preliminary study for a hydrogen switcher in the Port of Duisburg

duisport closes the year 2020 on a successful note

duisport invests in CargoBeamer – Partnership for shifting the transport of semi-trailers towards rail

  • Erich Staake: „CargoBeamer is a pioneer for environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility concepts“

Duisburger Hafen AG (duisport) has acquired a stake in the rail technology company CargoBeamer AG which is based in Leipzig, Germany. Both companies are jointly committed to shift road freight traffic towards rail thanks to innovative logistics concepts.

“Those who want to relocate transport away from roads have to transfer semi-trailers towards rail. CargoBeamer therefore offers an excellent solution with its handling technology. It has developed a pioneering concept in environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility solutions”, emphasizes Erich Staake, chairman of the Duisburger Hafen AG. “I am glad that our shareholders have approved the investment in addition to the already existing and successful partnership.”

CargoBeamer: Digitally controlled and flexible in use!

The fully automatic system of CargoBeamer is primarily used for transporting all kinds of craneable and non-craneable semi-trailers by rail. It consists of special railway cars and handling terminals. During loading and unloading the semi-trailers are driven and parked in the pallets, which are then shifted horizontally and fully automatically into the waiting train. CargoBeamer enables the complete loading and unloading of a cargo train with up to 36 wagons in less than 20 minutes, while the process is completely digitalized. The CargoBeamer wagon technology is also fully compatible with typical cranes and reach stackers used in classic intermodal transport. Therefore nearly every existing intermodal terminal is able to handle CargoBeamer wagons. Customers such as freight forwarders bring their semi-trailers to the rail terminal from where they are transported to their destination by rail.

Moving semi-trailers towards rail

duisport has already started to expand its world-leading range of inland trimodal cargo handling with the first CargoBeamer trains. “In the future, our customers will get even more reliable and climate-friendly logistics chains – without burdening their vehicle fleet with high investments,” says Erich Staake. The CargoBeamer system transport semi-trailers as well as typical intermodal units. The capacity of each train is 36 semi-trailers or 45-foot containers. Each semi-trailer can hold up to 26 tons of cargo.

New terminal and improved infrastructure

CargoBeamer and duisport are pursuing a vision for the future: Together both are working towards digitally automated handling for semi-trailers from road to rail. Combined with robotized warehouses and the electromobile distribution of goods on the “last mile”, an efficient European model for a sustainable transport network is to be created in the centre of North Rhine-Westphalia. A joint terminal project based on the CargoBeamer infrastructure will be an important component of this development. As part of this project, the new CBoXX technology from CargoBeamer is to be integrated directly. The high-volume rail container can be loaded and unloaded autonomously in the terminal. Thus, a high-performance offer for LTL / LCL volumes (freight quantities with piece sizes below an entire semi-trailer or container) can be brought to the market.

“We are very pleased to further strengthen our already successful strategic cooperation with duisport’s participation in CargoBeamer. duisport offers ideal conditions for expanding transport routes far into Asia in the future and, as the largest inland port in Europe, opens up enormous potential for connections throughout the world. duisport shares CargoBeamers vision of drastically increasing rail freight transport with innovative rail logistics”, explains Robert Osterrieth, chairman of the supervisory board of CargoBeamer AG.

To this day around 30 percent of the entire trade between china and Europe runs through the port of Duisburg. Every week 50 to 60 trains connect duisport and around 20 destinations in China.


Background information

About duisport:

Duisburger Hafen AG owns and manages the Port of Duisburg, the world’s largest inland port. For this port and logistics location, the duisport Group offers full service packages in the area of infra- and superstructure, including relocation management. In addition, the subsidiaries also provide logistics services, such as the development and optimization of transport and logistics chains, rail freight services, building management, contract and packing logistics.

About CargoBeamer:

The CargoBeamer Group is a logistics service provider in the “combined transportation road-rail segment” based in Leipzig, Germany. Thanks to the company’s technology of rail cars, handling terminals and logistics software nearly all standard truck semi-trailers of all build types can use the train – without additional conversions and reinforcements for the tractor trailer and even without a driver and tractor unit. A first route between Kaldenkirchen at the German/Dutch border and Domodossola in northern Italy has been serviced by daily trains since 2015 and is fully utilized – more than 70,000 truck journeys through Germany and the Alps have been transferred to the environmentally-friendly railroad track to date. In the medium-term CargoBeamer will realize a European route-network of high-performing and innovative transhipment facilities at important transport hubs. This will secure sustainable rail-transport for hundreds of thousands of semi-trailers per year – reducing co2-emissions and relieving environment and society.

logport VI: Maersk plans investment in Duisburg – World’s largest container shipping company plans a distribution center in the north of Duisburg