HOW WOULD YOU GENERALLY DESCRIBE THE REMIT OF YOUR CURRENT POSITION? WHY AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PORTS OF BREMEN?
I am really pleased to be acting on behalf of the ports of Bremen once again and doing what I already did with great enjoyment and commitment between 1991 and 2007: creating and strengthening connections between industry in the south-west and the maritime transport business in Bremen and Bremerhaven.
WHAT DOES YOUR REGION STAND FOR AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT? WHAT ARE THE KEY INDUSTRIAL AND LOGISTICS SECTORS IN YOUR REGION? AND WHAT INDIVIDUAL REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS HAVE TO BE OBSERVED?
Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Western Bavaria and Switzerland have enormous economic potential. These regions are interesting for the Federal Land of Bremen both in terms of throughput volumes as well as production locations. The main economic sectors here are automotive, mechanical and plant engineering, electronics and chemicals.
Bremen has close trade relations with these regions that have been nurtured for decades, but it cannot afford to rest on its laurels, as the competitor ports are also very active here. When it comes to covering the last mile, for example, the ports of Bremen can offer excellent rail connections. However, “Rheinschiene” is a significant competitor, as the ARA range is developing immense potential here. In other words, we have to keep our eye on the ball, ensure the continuous development of our ports and a good competitive position.
The population in the south-west region is very down-to-earth and sometimes it is difficult to gain their trust. Businesses in Baden-Württemberg demand a high quality standard of their products and expect the same of their partners. Bremen is in a good position to satisfy these quality standards if it simultaneously succeeds in establishing a sound and sincere relationship with its partner companies. Once you have managed to do so, you can look forward to a lasting and good partnership. In that respect, the mentality of those in the south-west and the people of Bremen are similar. As a general rule, we get on very well with one another.
I can offer companies seeking to expand their network and exploit further business potential in the regions of south-west Germany and Switzerland the opportunity to present an aspect of their own business sector at the Maritime Forum Stuttgart, which I founded in 1992 for employees of overseas freight forwarders, shipowners and transport firms.
WHAT CONNECTIONS DOES YOUR REGION HAVE WITH THE PORTS OF BREMEN AND WHAT PERSONAL LINKS DO YOU HAVE WITH THE PORTS IN BREMEN AND BREMERHAVEN?
I have had a soft spot for Bremen ever since I was a child. I loved the fairy-tale of the Bremen Town Musicians and visited the Hanseatic city with my parents and siblings on several occasions. When I was a student at the German Academy of Foreign Trade and Transport in Bremen, I got to know the city and the people more closely and made several good friends. Afterwards, when I was employed in the intercontinental freight forwarding business, I was always particularly happy to do business with colleagues and partners from Bremen because cooperation in these projects always turned out to be particularly smooth, successful and dependable. The 16 years at Bremen’s Port Promotion Agency in Stuttgart that followed were, of course, also extremely interesting. My colleagues and I achieved a great deal during that time, establishing good connections between our economic regions in north and south. That was great experience and I am delighted that I have now come full circle and can once again fly the flag for the ports of Bremen in the regions I represent.
WHAT IMAGE DO THE PORTS OF BREMEN HAVE IN YOUR REGION? WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE?
Right now businesses in Baden-Württemberg are not as aware of the ports of Bremen as they used to be. Due to the lack of marketing activities by Bremen in recent years, the ports of Hamburg and Rotterdam have a much stronger market presence. But we can make up ground again here over the medium term by providing more active market support to show that Bremen appreciates the south-west of Germany as an economic area.
WHAT SUPPORT CAN YOU OFFER COMPANIES IN BREMEN’S MARITIME BUSINESS FOR THEIR LOCAL ACTIVITIES? WHAT SUPPORT CAN YOU OFFER COMPANIES IN BREMEN’S MARITIME BUSINESS FOR THEIR LOCAL ACTIVITIES?
I will contribute my networks and my personal standing in the market to promote Bremen as a port location. My contacts with the chamber of commerce, my lectures and presentations at adult education centres and my activities on behalf of the German Logistics Federation have created a broad basis for supporting the maritime transport business. Thanks to my years of experience at Bremen’s Port Promotion Agency from 1991 till 2007 it should be possible for me to provide effective support for the partners of Bremen’s maritime transport industry.
Christoph Kernen began his career by training as a freight forwarder in Stuttgart. After working for seven years, he moved to Bremen to study at the German Academy of Foreign Trade and Transport, where he successfully obtained a degree in business management.
After returning to his home region, he swiftly moved up the career ladder through various positions in overseas freight and shipping companies. But even from a distance, Kernen remained loyal to Bremen and was head of the Stuttgart branch of Bremen’s Port Promotion Agency from 1991 till 2007. This was followed by a position as branch manager of a container shipping company and in 2010, Kernen set up his own business as HR consultant for the logistics business (A.C.-Filderstadt Logistik Personalberatung). Kernen has been representative for South-West Germany and Switzerland since October 2019.
Christoph Kernen was born in Reutlingen in February 1953 and now lives with his wife in Filderstadt near Stuttgart. He has three grown-up children and is the proud grandfather of four. He therefore prefers to spend his spare time with his family. His hobbies include cycling and hiking and he loves to read a good book.