Inland waterway transport and European short sea shipping have traditionally played an important role for the German steel group Salzgitter AG. To support waterway logistics, Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH (SZFG), the largest company within the Steel Production Business Unit of Salzgitter AG, has recently become a member of the SPC - ShortSeaShipping Inland Waterway Promotion Center.
Waterways form an important pillar of logistics
Salzgitter steel group relies on waterway shipping for a wide range of transports, such as logistics in connection with pipeline projects and for freight transport between the various locations of the group, eleven of which have direct access to a port. The routes and cargo are highly versatile. Raw materials, for example, are shipped from Hamburg to Salzgitter. Finished products, such as coils from Salzgitter, beams from Peine and heavy plate from Ilsenburg, are also transported to their customers by ship.
“Due to the great importance of the waterway and port infrastructure for Salzgitter Group, we have become a member of the ShortSeaShipping Inland Waterway Promotion Center – SPC. Thus we can make our contribution to the promotion of waterborne transport,” says Dr. Jürgen Harland, Manager Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH. “We look forward to being part of this strong network that integrates all stakeholders along multi-modal logistics chains.”
Demand for growing cargo capacity on waterways
There is certainly demand for more transport capacity on waterways. “We at Salzgitter would be able to increase our share of ship cargo, but, due the infrastructural constraints and the shortage of shipping space, there are definitely limits. We are experiencing bottlenecks in our inbound and outbound shipments,” continues Harland.
“Especially, customers from the Netherlands and Hungary would like to have more products delivered by ship,” adds Fabian Gerdes, Manager Customer Logistics at Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH. Obvious reasons for the growing demand for transport capacity include the increasing availability and use of scrap and the trend to shift freight transport by rail to transport by ship.
Inland waterway transport is part of the circularity strategy
At the same time, intensified wind farm construction will lead to a growing demand for heavy plate produced at our Ilsenburg location and a correspondingly high demand for transport capacity. “To become more resilient to market fluctuations and transport capacity bottlenecks, SFZG began as early as in 2021 to charter three vessels that we can flexibly use as and whenever we want to,” continues Dr. Jürgen Harland. Thus, Salzgitter is placing logistics on a broader basis, while supporting the Group’s circularity strategy according to which an increasing number of ships is to be used to deliver steel to the customers and bring scrap back for reuse in steelmaking.