Wirtschaftsbetriebe Oberhausen GmbH (WBO) – a public private partnership between the City of Oberhausen and REMONDIS – has been providing those living and working in the town with reliable services for 20 years now. A truly successful PPP model!
The list of WBO’s tasks is long and varied: managing and treating the city’s wastewater, cleaning and maintaining its road network, providing industrial, commercial and private customers with a range of waste management services and ensuring the roads are safe for public use. Making the most of its wealth of expertise, it serves the city operating a reliable and efficient business. Oberhausen collaborates closely with REMONDIS here, which has owned a 49% share in WBO since 1998. WBO has been in the black since 1999 and its economic plan continues to develop positively.
Managing waste is just one of the many tasks carried out by WBO
Each and every week, its waste management division collects waste generated by around 104,000 households so it can be thermally treated at the GMVA Niederrhein GmbH in Oberhausen (a town situated in the west of the Ruhr region). The PPP’s tasks also include emptying the recycling, paper and organic waste bins as well as running a municipal recycling centre for a whole range of recyclable and residual waste. The recyclable materials are either handed in to this centre or collected by WBO and transhipped in Oberhausen. One of the company’s highlights is its work at CentrO Oberhausen, Europe’s largest shopping centre. WBO collects all waste materials generated here – from waste packaging all the way through to food waste and old cooking fat.
Every week, the residual waste generated by the ca. 104,000 households is collected and taken to GMVA Niederrhein GmbH in Oberhausen for thermal treatment
WBO’s catchment area covers around 77km² with ca. 212,000 local inhabitants and a road network totalling approx. 550km in length. More than one million metres of road have to be swept regularly if the streets are to be kept clean. The company must react quickly if road surfaces become damaged, traffic lights fail or there is a sudden snowfall to ensure the roads remain safe for the public.
A fleet of efficient vehicles is essential to be able to carry out all these tasks. WBO has a total of 170 vehicles – of which 80 are special waste management vehicles. Any repair work is performed in its own garage. Thanks to the new generation of multifunctional vehicles for winter services and water maintenance work, there are hardly any periods during the year when they are not being used. Thus WBO operates in a fair competitive environment offering its customers reliable, cost-effective and top quality services. Moreover, priority is always put on conserving natural resources and driving sustainability across the whole of its operations.
“This model, in which our private sector partner plays an important role, helps us to provide efficient and cost-effective public services – especially considering the difficult financial situation that the town is in at the moment. Moreover, the revenue generated by WBO benefits the city and, as a result, our local residents as well.“
Sonja Bongers, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board
WBO’s work, however, is not just above ground. A system of sewer pipes is located below the surface that is just as long as the road network. WBO is in charge of running the public wastewater plants, the storage basins, road and property drainage systems as well as organising all related planning and engineering work. Its portfolio here includes checking the network for leaks, which is performed by specially trained operatives using the innovative in-line process – something that is unique in the sewer renovation sector. Furthermore, WBO always has the latest information available for building projects as it continuously records detailed information about the infrastructure in a register.
WBO managing director, Karsten Woidtke, is pleased to see just how good the collaboration is with the city authorities. “Oberhausen benefits from WBO’s operations being so reliable and cost effective. We’re continuously checking our processes and then discussing the findings with our municipal partner and our employees to further improve our business. Our objective here is to ensure there is always a healthy balance between what is technically possible and economically viable and to remain in close contact with the city’s local inhabitants. We work using eco-friendly processes and with eco-friendly materials.”
“WBO was one of the first PPP models to be established in Germany,” said WBO managing director, Maria Guthoff, looking back at the company’s history. “We have proven – right from the moment the company was founded 20 years ago – that this model works. The City of Oberhausen’s waste management sector is in the safest of hands.”
Sonja Bongers, Chairwoman of WBO’s Supervisory Board and SPD city councillor, is more than happy to confirm this: “The collaboration works very well indeed and, as far as the council is concerned, WBO is doing a really good job. All in all, WBO has proven to be a very successful PPP. This model, in which our private sector partner plays an important role, helps us to provide efficient and cost-effective public services – especially considering the difficult financial situation that the town is in at the moment. Moreover, the revenue generated by WBO benefits the city and, as a result, our local residents as well.”
Wolfgang Crämer, chairman of the works council at WBO, also believes the PPP model has had a positive impact: “As far as the works council is concerned, the PPP has generated a number of substantial advantages. Bringing in private sector know-how has led to an increase in the services we provide as well as to more investments being made in state-of-the-art technology. This has driven the company forward and helped us secure long-term contracts.”
|> Facts & Figures|
A PPP since
51% Stadtwerke Oberhausen
No. of employees