Importance for Vienna
The port of Vienna is already the largest port on the Danube in Eastern Austria and its diverse logistical capabilities and capacities continue to be enlarged. Although it is 2,000 km from the Black Sea and 1,500 km from the North Sea, it has the great advantage of being the largest trimodal logistics centre in Austria, bringing together road, rail and water transportation and making it the ideal place for the transportation of goods and for container storage, trade and management.
Apart from Wiener Hafen group, a member of the Wien Holding group, there are a further 120 private companies located in an area of 3.5 million square metres, including around forty transportation companies renting premises and taking advantage of the economic benefits of the site. Facilities available for rent range from small offices to storage space, car, and HGV garages or large sites for entire companies. The port of Vienna provides jobs for 5,000 people, making it an important source of employment for the entire region.
Logistics transhipment centre
The port of Vienna handles 12 million tons of freight annually, 50 per cent by road, 35 per cent by rail, and 15 per cent by river. In 2008 some 60,000 lorries were handled. Every week 85 container trains travel to the major European ports such as Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam and Duisburg, or to the Eastern European hubs of Bratislava and Budapest. This makes the port of Vienna a central interface for overseas container traffic, which will be further developed through additional rail connections to Cologne and Sopron.
Many of the goods sold or processed in Vienna are now handled by the port of Vienna, as can be seen from the 335,000 container units that are dealt with every year. Bulk commodities and general cargo ranging from raw materials and fertilisers to construction materials, fuel, road salt and grain are handled reliably and professionally there. The importance of the port of Vienna is also well illustrated by the fact that one in five cars passes through the port of Vienna on its way to dealers and customers.
Climate and environmental protection
Combined transportation is now a routine logistical task and container handling continues to grow steadily. The port of Vienna develops comprehensive logistical solutions with a view to protecting man and nature by modernising transportation. Mineral oil products, building materials and agricultural products in particular are transported by water, relieving congestion on the roads, on almost 2,000 vessels to the port of Vienna, where around 500,000 container units per year are available. Since 2006 the container terminal has been upgraded, the warehouses enlarged, the infrastructure for rail and road improved, the crane facilities replaced and the flood protection optimised. The crane terminal was expanded in April 2013 to include a third container crane bridge.
In recent years, 30,000 sq m of harbour basin has been filled in Freudenau Harbour in order to create new transfer and storage spaces. By 2015, another 40,000 sq m will be filled; the planning for the expansion of the container terminal will take place parallel to this.
The year 1830 was catastrophic for Vienna. "Leopoldstadt [Vienna´s 2nd district] is a dreadful sight: broken ships and materials in the streets, ground floors flooded with all kinds of goods floating in the water." The apocalyptic report written in 1848 by the poet Franz Grillparzer became even sharper as he mentioned the spoilage and the many dead bodies on the street. The "terrible ice drift" in 1830 was in fact ice floes wedged into metre-high formations, causing the river and its tributaries to back up and the banks to overflow in a flood wave. Following the regulation of the Danube there are no longer any ice floes, but the Danube and its tributaries sometimes still freeze over to a thickness of several centimetres. The icebreaker MS Eisvogel is then in action for hours at a time keeping the navigation channels around the port free of ice. While passenger shipping is suspended, some 400 cargo vessels are handled in Vienna in the winter.
Apart from the cargo traffic on the Danube, the traditional DDSG Blue Danube passenger ships are also very popular and successful. Danube tours to the Wachau or themed attractions like the Vienna coffee house tour or children's birthday parties can be arranged from the shipping centre. Passengers in a hurry can also use the air-conditioned TWIN CITY LINER with its panoramic window and open-air deck, which takes just 75 minutes to reach Bratislava from Vienna. The shipping centre, run by the subsidiary Wiener Donauraum, is close to the Reichsbrücke bridge and provides tourists on Danube cruise ships with access to the city of Vienna. Every year the port of Vienna handles some 400,000 passengers in this way.
With the acquisition of the Marina Wien pleasure craft marina in 2009, the port of Vienna became even more versatile. There are plans to improve the recreational facilities in the marina: the restaurant is to be modernised and with access from the U2 underground line in November 2010 new utilisations for the area surrounding the marina are also being considered.