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Customer Snapshot: Overview

Linking to 950 other ports in 178 countries


Hamburg Port Authority (HPA)

~€233.7 million

Number of Employees

Public Sector

Implementation Partner

T-Systems International GmbH

Hamburg, Germany

Customer Website

Line of Business
Platform and Technology, Supply Chain

SAP Solutions
SAP Connected Logistics, SAP HANA, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Mobile App Framework


How to double port capacity with no extra space? Run Live.

Customer Snapshot: History

Over 8 Centuries of Operation
Seaports have been an integral part of global commerce for centuries. And while much has changed since the days of the sailing ships, the importance to world trade of the Port of Hamburg and cargo centers like it has not.
Between roughly 1850 and 1960, 5 million German emigrants journeyed to the U.S, and this largest ancestry group in the country now exceeds 50 million people. For most of their ancestors, the great voyage to the “New World” began at Germany’s Port of Hamburg, a perennially bustling harbor located along the Elbe River. Since its founding in 1189 by Frederick I, it has continuously been Central Europe’s main hub for transatlantic passenger and freight travel.

The sprawling port is a breathtaking site and features four state-of-the-art container terminals, the legendary Hamburg Fish market, a cruise ship terminal, and the historic Speicherstadt – a large wharf on the northern shore, which is considered an architectural icon.

Customer Snapshot: Business Model


Keeping the Cargo Moving

The Port of Hamburg is a very busy place. Up to 40,000 trucks arrive daily and cargo is shipped to and from the furthest corners of the earth. The port is also the economic backbone of the Hamburg region. There are over 900 businesses in the surrounding area and the port directly and indirectly provides about 156,000 jobs.

Since 2005, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has had sole responsibility for developing, maintaining, and managing the infrastructure of this port that never sleeps. This includes collaborating with both local and global businesses to ensure safe and smooth workflows on both water and land.

Moving 140 million tons of goods through the port each year.

In short, the HPA’s job is to make sure cargo from millions of containers each year, finds the fastest route to the rest of the world.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

Maintaining Hamburg's Reputation as"Gateway to the World"

Success for the men and women of the HPA is measured by their ability to keep the traffic within the port running smoothly and helping get millions of containers to their final destination as quickly and safely as possible. This means precise and reliable port infrastructure, dependable transport paths, and efficient communication among both the marine and land-based stakeholders.

The HPA is also constantly looking for innovative business approaches that will allow them to grow the potential of the port and strengthen their position in the future.


Run Live thinking helps the HPA plan ahead and plan for success.

The Challenge

Growing Cargo Amounts, Yet Limited Dock Space

The Port of Hamburg is a vast network of people, businesses, and devices – both fixed assets and moving parts.


Around 12,000 ships use the port each year and dock workers load and unload some 9 million containers from their decks. In addition to thousands of trucks, about a third of all the goods are transported in trains that travel all across the European rail network. The HPA collaborates with terminal operators, transport companies, logistic companies, and parking providers. They manage 300 kilometers of railway, 135 railway sidings, and more than 130 bridges.

It is a large operation, but space is actually limited on the docks. The port already covers about 10% of the city’s area, and additional expansion is not feasible. Efficiency is everything.

A serious challenge…

The idea was to create a chain of “smartPORTS” that would ensure a steady flow of containers in and out of the port through advance planning in the cloud and real-time traffic management.

For the year 2025, we expect an increase to 18 million containers. And the traffic keeps increasing accordingly. –Sascha Westermann, Operational IT Traffic Management, Hamburg Port Authority

Enter SAP

Taking Advantage of Hyperconnectivity

HPA officials recognized networks that better connect their components can create greater efficiency and drive economic value for everyone. Nowadays, people and organizations are linked in more ways than ever before – with the Internet of Things, social media and the use of mobile and cloud technology. These links unlock a new power to those who are ready for the networked economy.


The new smartPORT logistics platform runs on the SAP® Networked Logistics Hub, which leverages the SAP HANA® Cloud Platform. It allows HPA to consolidate data from various sources and distribute it across the port in real time through a central private cloud. The new consolidated picture of port traffic has led to more-effective cargo handling across the entire supply chain, helping HPA move more goods for more customers with optimal efficiency.

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience


Rolling Out a Smart Idea

To help keep traffic and trade flowing smoothly through the Port of Hamburg, the HPA partnered with Deutsche Telekom and SAP on a joint project called Smart Port Logistics. The goal was to connect the port’s various stakeholders through a mobile business cloud.

Reacting to challenges in real-time with SAP Cloud Platform.

The project uses SAP Connected Logistics to gather real-time information from the HPA, transport companies, parking providers, and other businesses across the port. The TelematicOne solution from Deutsche Telekom, for example, integrates data from various vehicles. This information is then consolidated and analyzed using the SAP Cloud Platform. The result is actionable insight that the HPA provides to the people who need it via their mobile devices.

What fascinates me most about the project is its power of innovation and the collaboration with strong partners. –Sascha Westermann, Operational IT Traffic Management, Hamburg Port Authority

Better Business


Full Ahead at the Port of Hamburg

At the Port of Hamburg, interconnected components now work in concert to optimize the overall system. The benefits extend from the transport companies and truck drivers to the terminal operators and shipping lines.

Real-time logistic data is vital to traffic control.

The people and economy of the entire Hamburg region benefit as well. Better management of port traffic, for example, means less congestion for everyone using the surrounding roadways.

Better Business: Benefits

Benefits Across the Port

Real-time information lets shipping agents view the availability of containers at the docks and work with terminal operators on collection schedules that reduce waiting times.

By assigning new orders before the trucks reach the terminal, transport companies can optimize their capacities and the port can make better use of available parking spaces. Drivers also receive timely information that lets them know which routes to choose and how long they might have to wait at a destination. Further, mobile devices have replaced the old CB radios that were prone to miscommunications.


Right out of the gate, the new system was already showing increased efficiencies.

Better Business: Run Simple


Smoother Traffic, Increased Turnover Capacity

Today, the Smart Port Logistics project allows the HPA to take advantage of the networked economy by smoothing traffic flow inside the port and increasing their container handling capacity.

Journey Ahead

The Voyage Forward

Over the next couple of years, the HPA intends to help make the Port of Hamburg an even “smarter” seaport. And their intelligent infrastructure will continue to be rooted in collaborative technology such as Bluetooth, cloud, mobile end devices, and the Internet of Things. All their efforts are aimed at further increasing the efficiency of an 800-year-old port that remains an important link in the global supply chain.


A truly interconnected system will keep the HPA running on track into the future.

We have many stakeholders at the port and we want all of them to offer their IT services on the SAP Cloud Platform. –Sascha Westermann, Operational IT Traffic Management, Hamburg Port Authority

Digital Economy
The ability to successfully operate within business networks will define who wins and loses. Networks will be the platform on which successful businesses innovate, collaborate, grow, and evolve.
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