Heinemann celebrates 20 years of Hamburg-Allermöhe logistics centre

By Kristiane Sherry |

Heinemann’s state-of-the-art Hamburg-Allermöhe distribution centre.

Travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann is today [19 May] celebrating the 20th anniversary of its pioneering Hamburg-Allermöhe logistics and distribution centre, which, at the time, was the largest investment in the company’s history.

The Hamburg-Allermöhe centre forms a central part of the company’s global supply chain and sets a benchmark for GTR logistics, according to Heinemann.

Current and former employees will mark the 20-year milestone at a party hosted by the retailer.

Looking back to 2003

Heineman opened the doors to its new, highly automated central logistics centre on 19 May 2003. Boasting 16,000sqm space, it took over two and a half years to construct.

It was the first time the company owned a self-built warehouse outside of a free port, and it was the largest investment in the company’s history at the time. 

Three years later, Heinemann extended the facility to include a high-bay warehouse, and added office space in 2014. 

Over the years, the total storage space at the Hamburg-Allermöhe facility has increased by 66%, an indication of the growing demands of the travel retail market. 

People are the ‘outstanding’ success

“The truly outstanding component of the success of our logistics centre is the people who  make up the heart of Allermöhe,” said Martin Borscheid, Director Logistics. 

Hamburg-Allermöhe’s impressive automated picking system

“Of the 350 people employed here today, 67 have been with us from the beginning, and  many have been part of the Heinemann family for 20 years or more. The experienced teams are optimally complemented by new employees for our joint path into the future. 

“Qualified specialists are in demand because although processes are continuously  improved, specialist knowledge is necessary to ensure the often difficult handling of goods. 

“Our logistics is particularly unique in the global travel market because nowhere else can you get everything from a single source, from the perfectly stored cigar to a €45,000 whisky and an elegant Bulgari ring.” 

Heinemann says the Hamburg-Allermöhe centre is constantly being improved and updated as new technical solutions become available. 

“The retrofit approach, this means the continuous modernisation and updating of existing  plants and equipment, ensures that the systems are always state-of-the-art and equipped with intelligent solutions for the challenges of the future,” Borscheid continued.

“It is crucial to carry out  the replacement without disrupting ongoing operations.”

Innovative solutions currently in use include Google Glasses with a digital finger scanner.

Sustainability in focus

Heinemann has an ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030, and Hamburg-Allermöhe’s operations have a huge role to play in carbon reduction.

“In April, we invited our transport partners to a Sustainability Summit to find solutions to reduce CO2 emissions together, “ said Inken Callsen, Vice President Supply Chain

“We have already achieved a lot and were able to reduce emissions by nine percent in 2022 compared to 2019. This year, we aim to achieve another six percent reduction in order to reach our goal of 25% savings in 2024 compared to 2019.” 

Over 1,000 piles were used in the construction of the site.

Dr. Dirk Schneider, Chief Commercial Officer, added: “We must continue to meet the high demands on logistics with regards to performance, sustainability, and cost efficiency. 

“Equally important is ensuring that we can respond flexibly to capacity adjustments and resilience requirements at any time.” 

Heinemann’s distribution footprint in 2023 spans a second automated logistics centre in Erlensee near Frankfurt as well as regional warehouses in Norway, Miami and Sydney, among others.  

Gebr. Heinemann reported turnover of €3.8 billion/$4.1 billion in its 2022 financial year, backed by a commanding performance from its retail division.


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