Klagenfurt (LPD). In 2016, the local Carinthian government decided to develop the Villach-Fürnitz logistics centre and they selected a management company to implement these plans. The site of Duisburg in Germany was taken as an example, as here a logistics centre sparked long-term growth in what was once a rather poor economic region. Carinthian State Governor Peter Kaiser, as well as Regional Councillors Christian Benger and Rolf Holub, visited Duisburg in order to get a real idea of the logistics centre first hand. They received a return visit this week. Thomas Schlipköther, board member of Duisport AG, was in Carinthia himself and paid a visit to the logistics centre in Fürnitz. The parties immediately arranged for closer collaboration between the two sites.
Kaiser, Benger and Holub expressed their unanimous views on the matter on Thursday: “We want to drive the development of the Villach-Fürnitz logistics centre forward as a joint project for Carinthia. In this way, we can strengthen our economic position and create more jobs on a long term basis.” The project offers enormous development potential for Carinthia and the surrounding regions.
“The amount of people using the Internet to make their purchases keeps on growing. These products are manufactured around the world and must then be transported to the buyer. The logistics centre in Fürnitz has the potential to establish a new, modern version of the “Silk Route”, so to speak, and the Villach-Fürnitz transshipment point will be used by companies from across the globe,” explains Kaiser. According to the Carinthian State Governor, this logistics centre offers many opportunities, even in the areas of research and education: “Our university and technical college could both address the highly-complex topic of logistics from a scientific perspective.”
“We look at examples of how it works and learn from the best. The logistics centre in Carinthia holds huge potential due to its location in the Alps-Adriatic region,” explains Benger
in a nutshell. This means that the jobs and income generated will boost regional economic cycles and what’s more, Carinthia will even become a central hub for business cycles spanning across regions. “Wherever transport is made possible, the economy prospers,” according to Benger.
Environmental Officer Holub also notes the huge impact the logistics centre will have on employment, whilst also making reference to lowering emissions. “We will save diesel-powered ships a five-day journey around Europe and move freight transportation off the roads and onto the railways,” he explains.
As “Logistic Center Austria South”, news of the Fürnitz project will be spread across the globe, and attention will be drawn to the location and the Austrian state. The plans also take into account the opportunities that will be provided by the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor, as well as those provided by existing infrastructure, such as Klagenfurt airport. The “Logistic Center Austria South”, a company decreed by the government, is 100% publicly owned (51% Babeg, 26% Villach town and 11.5% each for the municipalities of Finkenstein and Arnoldstein). Two million euros will be available across a five year period.
Besides Duisburg port, Carinthia has already entered into positive discussions with Adriatic ports, the ÖBB (Austrian rail company) and Jörg Leichtfried, the Minister of Infrastructure. Contact has also been established with representatives for China Shipping. During the past 17 years, Duisport management has transformed Duisburg port into the largest trimodal logistics centre in the world, creating over 30,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the process. As such, they can draw upon this know-how for the future development of the Villach-Fürnitz logistics site. What’s more, future collaboration will also be desired on subjects such as training young specialists and expanding transport networks, as well as for the potential development of freight transportation between the two relations.