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Course set for future orientation

The Port of Trier, the only German inland port on the Moselle, has been a major logistics hub and economic engine of the greater Trier-Eifel-Saarland-Luxembourg region for many years now. Like the rest of the logistics sector, however, the port faces a host of challenges. Coping with climate change, in particular, demands effective concepts and strategies.

Serving over a million people

The Port of Trier is a trimodal hub serving over a million people in the greater region. Having already transloaded almost 1.6 million tons of waterway and rail freight, we consider ourselves and our partners a logistics hub for goods and freight of all kinds. We link three modes of transport – road, rail and waterway – perfectly: not only in the interests of customers, but also for the benefit of the environment, since vessels loaded and unloaded at the Port of Trier have an average tonnage of around 1,800 tons. A single inland waterway vessel thus dispenses with around a hundred commercial road vehicles. Am Zehnhoff-Söns, our multimodal terminal provider, also offers a direct rail link to the seaports of Antwerp and Rotterdam.

From road to rail and waterway

Since shipping and rail transport indisputably generate lower greenhouse gas emissions than road haulage, sustainable expansion of these two modes of transport is an important element in climate change mitigation. However, road haulage is still the freight transport mode of choice, despite the long-accepted need for further transport and transloading facilities that would enable freight to be switched to other modes of transport. This view is shared by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI): as part of its Logistics 2030 Innovation Programme, it is therefore calling for greater investment in rail and inland waterway transport, not least owing to their lower climate impact.

Transformation to the logistics hub of the greater region

Against this background, we have been working hard in recent months on developing our site further. This includes reaching forward-thinking logistics and infrastructure solutions by which freight can be delivered in the greater region reliably, efficiently and sustainably, and the quality of life thereby assured and safeguarded, both now and in the future. A 2.5 hectare plot became available at the port site last year. Plans are now in progress to expand and optimize the complete logistics provision of our multimodal terminal. “In particular, the area that has now become available is generating demand among customers who wish to use the site and its new infrastructure for their transloading operations,” says Volker Klassen. A multi-purpose facility is planned, situated directly on the quay and enabling inland vessels and rail trucks to be loaded and unloaded whilst sheltered from the elements. Also planned are a high-bay warehouse and autonomous loading systems. Furthermore, a consolidated platform economy is to deliver greater efficiency and reduce the pressure on resources.

Implementation of new technologies

In the interests of leveraging climate-friendly technology to the full in the logistics sector, the Port of Trier is involved in the IHATEC II1) research project. Digital representation and modelling of the business processes (by a “digital twin”) is intended to increase the transparency of the processes in inland ports and generate a harmonized body of data. One objective is to enable emissions to be presented and analysed better. The port is also involved in SINLOG2), an mFUND research project, with the aim of integrating the inland port even more effectively into intermodal logistics chains, which in many cases are already managed digitally. The SINLOG digital blockchain platform is designed to network the interfaces of different logistics providers.

Modernization: a response to the shortage of skilled workers

The focus on innovation and the digital transformation is also a response to the increasingly pressing challenge presented by the shortage of skilled and younger personnel. Many logistics service providers are already struggling with a shortage of workers across supply chains. This is despite the numerous and attractive employment opportunities within logistics – which also applies to our partner companies at the port..

1) With the IHATEC II funding programme for innovative port technologies, the BMVI is supporting R&D projects for the development or adaptation of innovative technologies in German inland and seaports.

2) With the mFUND (Modernity Fund) innovation initiative, the BMVI has funded R&D projects relating to digital data-based applications for Mobility 4.0 since 2016.