A perfect model of rail logistics

UPDATE: Multi Hub Hamm connects rail, road and waterways.

Located in the German region of Westphalia, Hamm was once home to Germany’s largest marshalling yard. Now, the city is taking on the role of a multimodal rail logistics hub where innovative transhipment technology will create a flagship project for environmentally friendly rail freight transport. In 1920, Hamm’s train formation facility was 430m in width and contained 325 kilometres of track, making it one of the largest in Europe. Now, 60 of its 85 currently unused hectares have been earmarked for an innovative logistics project overseen by DB Cargo, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the municipality of Hamm and the Hamm-Bielefeld branch of the German Railway and Transport Union (EVG). Together, we want to create a multimodal logistics hub that brings rail, road and water transport together at a single site. Hamm’s port is one of the largest canal docks in North Rhine-Westphalia. Every year, its transhipment facilities handle some 500,000 tonnes of rail freight and approximately 1.6 million tonnes of waterborne freight. Our goal is to shift more cargo from road transport to climate-friendly rail services, thereby doing away with the need for 170,000 lorry journeys every year. 

4 May 2022: Development agency founded

A newly founded agency will coordinate and drive forward the further development steps of the "MULTI HUB" from now on. The agency consists of various shareholders who support the conceptual implementation of the trimodal logistics area: Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft Hamm mbH holds 51 percent of the shares, DB Cargo 27 percent, Hamm GmbH 14 percent, Kombiverkehr Deutsche Gesellschaft für kombinierten Güterverkehr 5 percent and Lanfer Logistik 3 percent. Thomas Hesse was appointed Managing Director by DB Cargo, while the Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft Hamm mbH appointed Marc Berendes as Managing Director. "we urgently need a central coordination office in order for the development of the Hamm marshalling yard to progress in a target-oriented manner, taking into account the stakeholders involved," says Marc Berendes. "We aim to consolidate the different development stages and synchronise the planning procedures".

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At the invitation of Marc Herter, Lord Mayor of the City of Hamm, and Michael Thews, Member of the Bundestag, a delegation led by Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport and Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport, was able to get an idea of the development potential of what was once the largest marshalling yard in Europe.


Christoph Dammermann, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, emphasised the importance of the agency for the implementation of the showcase project: "The establishment of the Development Agency for Sustainable Freight Transport is a milestone towards 'MULTI HUB Westphalia' and supports the city of Hamm on its way to becoming a supra-regional and trimodal logistics hub."

“MULTI HUB WESTFALEN” in Hamm on its way: (from left to right) Jörg Hensel, Chairman of the Hamm-Bielefeld EVG local association, Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Chairwoman of the Management Board of DB Cargo, Hendrik Wüst, Minister of Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Marc Herter, Lord Mayor of the City of Hamm (c) City of Hamm


The perfect location: MULTI HUB WESTFALEN

The former station at Hamm is ideally located near the economic centres of the Ruhr district while at the same time providing excellent links to all modes of transport. It also offers great potential for future expansion. What is more, the site has all the interface features necessary for getting freight to its destination with the smallest possible carbon footprint. The plan includes upgrades to the road links along with the construction and operation of a multifunctional logistics base consisting of freely accessible terminals and a connection to the existing freight station, depots, logistics halls and tracks. DB Cargo’s CEO Dr Sigrid Nikutta has this to say about the project: “An example of what Germany is capable of is taking shape in the Westphalian city of Hamm. DB will return to the site with its rail freight services. If we want to convince new and existing customers that rail is the right option, we need innovations like MULTI HUB WESTFALEN. Creating a network with all modes of transport is a recipe for success. This will enable each of our customers to adapt its specific supply chains so these can make full use of the most climate-friendly mode of transport there is.”   

Commitment to rail freight transport

Hendrik Wüst, North Rhine-Westphalia’s transport minister, takes a similar view. “Germany has to move back to the railway again,” he says. “This will entail shifting freight transport from lorries to trains and waterways. The railway has a rich history in Hamm, and the city will write the next chapter in the history of mobility by transforming the former marshalling yard into a multimodal hub. The new MULTI HUB WESTFALEN facility will make it possible to replace 170,000 lorry trips with rail and waterway services. This will take pressure off our roads as well as the climate, leading to better, safer and cleaner mobility. The government of North Rhine-Westphalia is very happy to support the project.” Jörg Hensel, head of the EVG’s local Hamm-Bielefeld association, has this to add: “One freight train can replace 52 lorry trips. The fact that our plans for MULTI HUB WESTFALEN will also create hundreds of new, quality jobs where employees also have a say is something that makes us all the happier.”

The trimodal linking of rail, waterways and road will create the ideal conditions for establishing a new logistics hub of interregional importance. By supporting the project, the municipality of Hamm is providing a major boost for a sustainable economic upswing in the region, something that will generate a dynamic environment for businesses. Hamm’s mayor, Marc Herter, is certain of this: “Our response to structural changes is to focus on innovations and work that produces good results. The changeover to an economy that uses sustainable freight transport represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Hamm’s logistics sector. Reopening the former marshalling yard is not just the cornerstone of this development, but it will also be the engine driving it.”