Raiffeisen Uckermark: Investment in strength and efficiency
Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co. KG, a subsidiary of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG, has invested 9 million Euro in the construction of nine silos in the port of Schwedt. The ambituous project is one of the largest in the recent history of AGRAVIS.
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- On Wednesday morning (24 June 2015), the new silo facility of Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co. at the port of Schwedt was symbolically put into service by (from the right): Johannes Schulte-Althoff, Financial Manager of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG, Dietmar Schulze, District Administrator of the Uckermark County, Thomas Frank, Director of Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co. KG, and Bernd Homann, Head of Corporate Communications at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG.
"There is hardly a way around Schwedt in inland shipping and in the trade between East and West", explains Johannes Schulte-Althoff, board member of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG. Thus, the station at the Hohensaaten-Friedrichsthaler waterway is an important stop on the way from Scandinavia and Russia to Southern Europe. Besides, it is the only harbour in Brandenburg from which the Baltic Sea can be reached without having to pass any locks. "With the new silos and an overall capacity of around 90,000 tons, Raiffeisen Uckermark – and thus also AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG – gets ready to meet the challenges of the future", Schulte-Althoff continues.
The many workers who could be seen for months at the large construction site at the port were a sure sign that something big was in the making. In the true sense of the word, because six silos with a volume of around 13,000 tons each and three smaller silos with a volume of 1,500 tons each were growing up into the sky. With this, Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co KG emphasises the significance of the site at the port of Schwedt for the AGRAVIS group.
Besides, the new warehouses at the port of Schwedt are a far-sighted investment for Raiffeisen Uckermark. The location near the water and in the immediate vicinity of the Polish border offered clear competitive advantages. "A good portion of the grain that is required in Western Europe is produced in the East of Germany and in Poland", explains Thomas Frank, together with Jens Zillmann director of Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co KG. Moreover, Schwedt is the largest town and the economic centre of the Uckermark County and is located directly at the river Oder. In 2014, Raiffeisen Uckermark with 105 employees at the four sites in Schwedt, Angermünde, Casekow and Passow earned more than 95 million Euro.
Direct business with the farmers
With the new silos, Schulte-Althoff and Frank consider the company to be well equipped for future tasks: "In agriculture, extreme quantities occur within just a few weeks. "With these silos, we can receive and process everything." The market can then be continuously supplied from these reserves - depending on demand. "The direct business with farmers in Germany is and remains or main job," stresses Johannes Schulte-Althoff. In addition it was however a declared goal to also establish the company in nationwide flows of goods. "With the investment we want to show that we are accounting for the developments in the industry and therefore want to first and foremost increase our punch," explains Thomas Frank.
With their commitment in Schwedt, Raiffeisen Uckermark and AGRAVIS demonstrate that they are two strong partners for the farmers in the region, who have great confidence in the productivity and value creation of the region and who focus on a long-term commitment. The nine silos were built on a third of the newly acquired 30,000 square metre premises, thus leaving Raiffeisen Uckermark with the possibility of further growth at the strategically important location of Schwedt in the future.
The official opening will be celebrated with an open day starting at 10 in the morning on 26 June.
Data and facts regarding the new storage facilities of Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co. KG at the port of Schwedt
- Plot area: 30,000 square metres at the port of Schwedt (new acquisition)
- Building: six silos with a volume of 13,000 tons each and three silos with a volume of 1,500 tons each
- Technical facilities: Receiving capacity of two times 300 tons per hour Loading capacity ships of 300 tons per hour Loading capacity trucks of 300 tons per hour
- Employees: 105
- Operating area: northeastern Brandenburg, southern West Pomerania
- Directors: Thomas Frank and Jens Zillmann
- Business divisions: agricultural trade, energy, building materials, Raiffeisen store and services
- Total investment: 9 million Euro
- Turnover 2014: 95.1 million Euro
- Official opening: 26 June 2015 with an open day
Interview with Thomas Frank, director Raiffeisen Uckermark GmbH & Co. KG
Mr Frank, why did AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG and Raiffeisen Uckermark decide to invest such a large amount of money at the port of Schwedt?
Frank: The port in Schwedt is of vital importance for Raiffeisen Uckermark. At the port, we are loading around 250 tons onto ships and 150 tons onto trucks every hour. This shows that shipping is extremely important for us. Besides, Schwedt is the only harbour in Brandenburg with access to the Baltic Sea without any locks that need to be passed by ships and is therefore of strategic importance for the lands of Berlin and Brandenburg. Furthermore, the shortest inland waterway leads from northeastern Europe to Germany – and back. And exactly that is an important aspect for export and nationwide trading.
What is the main commodity that will be transported?
Frank: Grain and oil seeds. The grain flows move mainly from the East to the West via the Hohensaaten-Friedrichsthaler waterway. A large proportion of the grain that is needed in western Europe is produced in eastern Germany and in Poland. But the transport of fertilisers also plays an important role.
The current silo construction is not the first investment made by AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG and Raiffeisen Uckermark. What investments were made in the past?
Frank:Overall, it is the fourth investment that is being realised at the port of Schwedt. In 2002, a logistics and transfer centre was built on a 28,000 square metre site for 15 million Euro, with a storage capacity of 85,000 tonnes, a mixing and a big bag filling plant. With that, the receiving capacity was increased to two times 200 tons per hour. In 2007, a grain warehouse for 30,000 tons was added, in 2010 a warehouse for operating supplies.
Why are these investments necessary for the company?
Frank: With these investments, we want to emphasise our willingness to grow and expand. In agriculture, extreme quantities occur within just a few weeks, therefore the large storage capacities are extremely important for us. With that, we adapt to the progress in agriculture and strengthen our punch. Hence, we are able to receive everything at a certain point in time and then process it bit by bit. At the same time, the direct business with farmers is and remains or main job.
To what extent will the handling volume of Raiffeisen Uckermark increase?
Frank: We expect an increase in handling of around 100,000 tons a year. This means, that we will in the near-term achieve an annual handling volume of around 300,000 tons.
How important are international flows of goods in this regard?
Frank: The international flows of goods are playing an ever greater role for us. Especially in the recent past, more and more large dealers and marketers have approached us. They recognise us as a location that provides them with access to the large German areas of consumption and production.