Delivery vans add to congestion. Builders’ vehicles and bin trucks bring narrow streets to a total standstill. Familiar problems in every city, everywhere in the world. Except around Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz. In the heart of the German capital, almost all logistics takes place underground.
Smart supply and disposal below ground
The VEZ supply and disposal centre in the heart of Berlin
ALBA Facility Solutions has operated the ‘Ver- und Entsorgungszentrum’ (VEZ), a sophisticated subterranean supply and disposal facility, for more than 20 years. Some 15 metres below ground, ALBA handles the delivery and waste management logistics for an entire city-centre precinct. ALBA coordinates all movements within the facility, among other things marshalling deliveries by some 160 large trucks each day. All supply logistics and waste handling takes place in a total area of 4,800 square metres with some five kilometres of roadways – completely unnoticed by the 10,000 people who work in the buildings around Postdamer Platz and the approximately 100,000 tourists who visit the area every day. Heavy traffic is consequently banished from the narrow streets above.
Fair billing creates incentives to avoid waste
An IT-assisted self-weighing system automatically logs waste quantities by user, so tenants only pay for disposal of their own waste. With waste paper, depending on market prices, they sometimes even get money back. This fair billing system creates a strong incentive to avoid waste.
Food waste from the 34 restaurants and two hotels is processed on-site to extract water and solids, cutting the quantity of organic waste to a third. Only this last third has to be sent to a digester – which also reduces transport costs and therefore the impact on the environment.
In total, the ALBA specialists at the facility separate more than 20 different types of waste. Some 2,600 tonnes of waste are collected and processed in the ALBA Group’s recycling facilities each year.
VEZ is a model for modern urban planning and logistics. Trade visitors regularly come from all over the world to see the advanced solutions at work in the facility. It is particularly interesting for visitors from China, where new urban precincts and business complexes are continually being built in the country’s rapidly growing large cities.