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Rhenus transforms distribution of steel with Green Steel Hub

The Rhenus Group is setting up a Green Steel Logistics Hub for steel logistics at its business site in Dortmund.

The warehouse is likely to start operating in the autumn of 2024 and the aim is to tranship and transport steel in a manner that is as eco-friendly as possible. Rhenus will use this facility to mainly appeal to companies that produce, handle and further process steel.

Rhenus acts as a pioneer in green steel logistics: its Green Steel Logistics Hub will transform the distribution of steel in the eastern Ruhr valleyRhenus acts as a pioneer in green steel logistics: its Green Steel Logistics Hub will transform the distribution of steel in the eastern Ruhr valley.

The logistics specialist Rhenus is making changes at various points in order to make its logistics processes more sustainable. A transhipment hub, which will serve as an important link in a sustainable and low-emissions supply chain for companies operating in the steel sector, is being set up in Dortmund under the Rhenus umbrella, for example. The logistics expert is modernising one of its existing warehouses there for this project. The measures being introduced include a new roof and the installation of a solar panel unit, which covers an area of about 4,000 square metres. The electricity that is generated will supply the energy for the crane equipment, the building itself as well as the charging infrastructure for electric trucks.

The four electric trucks, which will be used for the last mile operations between the terminal and the customers, are already on order. Rhenus will primarily cater for the market for rolled and flat steel with its Green Steel Logistics Hub and will therefore make it feasible to distribute steel in the Dortmund region and the eastern Ruhr valley with lower CO2 emissions. The trimodal terminal at the Mathieshafen port facility in Dortmund is ideally located for transportation purposes and provides good connections to motorways and waterways at important intersections in the heart of the Ruhr valley.

The convenient location makes it possible to transport the steel from the major seaports to Dortmund using shuttle services on waterways – which create less emissions than other means of transport anyway – and then distribute the commodity further inland from there using electric trucks. In addition to modernising the logistics building to make it more eco-friendly, Rhenus is also seeking to introduce an inland waterway fleet that reduces emissions even further. “Most logistics specialists only consider one small cog in the supply chain wheel and make it ‘green’. We’re adopting an all-round approach: warehouses operating with solar power, diesel-free final distribution services thanks to electric trucks and low-emission transportation along the European waterways,” says Michael Petersmann, the Managing Director of Rhenus Port Logistics Rhein-Ruhr, summarising the company’s policy.

Electric trucks are due to deliver the steel products to customers based within a radius of about 50 kilometres from Dortmund. They will charge their batteries at modern electric charging points at the new Green Steel Logistics Hub. “Steel isn’t the first thing that automatically comes to most people’s minds when they talk about ‘sustainability’. But a great deal can be done to manufacture steel in a way that is as eco-friendly as possible and also transport it from A to B. Thanks to our Green Steel Logistics Hub in Dortmund, we’re already providing a green perspective for infrastructure at a time when the proportion of green steel in the marketplace is continuing to grow,” Michael Petersmann continues. The steel producers, which are likely to rely on energy from hydrogen rather than from coal in future, are particularly delighted by this development.

The Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transportation is supporting the project to the tune of EUR 1,580,781.82 as part of the Programme to Support Light and Heavy Commercial Vehicles with Alternative, Climate-Friendly Drive Systems and the Associated Fuel and Charging Infrastructure. NOW GmbH is coordinating the funding programme and the Federal Logistics and Mobility Office is the body that approves any applications. “We wouldn’t have been able to introduce our future vision for our port terminal in Dortmund without the support programme. These kinds of projects are only feasible if state assistance like this is made available. Support in the form of funding programmes to introduce more projects of this kind at our ports is urgently needed if we’re going to achieve the sustainability goals set by the German government,” says Michael Petersmann, summarising matters.

Rhenus is also offering a more sustainable alternative from a logistics perspective with its Green Steel Logistics Hub and is helping establish climate-friendly supply chains. The Rhenus Group is already holding discussions with some potential customers and capacity for additional projects is still available at this time.