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.
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.”