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  • Dear Readers!

    Family-run companies generate almost 50% of the German economy’s total turnover and provide over 50% of all jobs in our country. Our ‘Mittelstand’ (i.e. our SMEs) – which, we are constantly being told, is held in envy around the world – is the anchor that gives Europe’s largest national economy the stability it needs, driving growth across the whole of the continent. 83% of all apprenticeship jobs in Germany are created by SMEs. 1,307 of the globally identified 2,700 ‘Hidden Champions’ are German Mittelstand firms. So what have these facts got to do with public private partnerships?

    They are an opportunity for local authorities and their companies to become a part of this exceptional success story. Family-owned businesses focus on values, traditions and reliability across generations. More often than not, they are deeply rooted in their regions and actively involved in their communities. And it is this that enables them to enjoy long-term success. We believe it to be a good decision when a municipal partner chooses to have its essential public services provided by a joint venture with a private-sector partner. Learning from mistakes made and drawing the right conclusions for the future are two further strengths of family-run companies that have been able to enjoy decades of success on their markets thanks to their high levels of expertise and their special ethos.

    The need for greater efficiency by, on the one hand, dividing up tasks and specialising in specific areas and, on the other, keeping costs under control means that once again public private partnerships are being viewed as a future-proof business model.

    For decades now, REMONDIS has been showing every day that better results can be achieved by working together. With 64 PPP companies and a whole range of third-party service provision agreements, we have perfected the public private partnership concept for all essential public services – from waste management, to water management, all the way through to public transport – to the benefit of both parties. Working together with its municipal partners, REMONDIS delivers services to over twelve million people living in Germany. Local authorities and their residents always receive the highest quality of service possible and have the peace of mind that their fees and charges will remain stable over a long period of time.

    As a rule, public private partnerships are a real blessing for a council’s budget as they are a reliable source of tax revenue. The most can be made of the opportunities to optimise operations. Successful collaboration work with the private sector preserves public property and creates jobs. Fees and charges are stabilised and the pressure on the public purse is relieved.

    This latest special issue is dedicated to the subject of public private partnerships and takes an in-depth look at the various PPP models, the advantages for local authorities and their residents and the positive impact they have on jobs, the environment and the local economy. Councils wishing to achieve long-term budget stability, high quality public services and maximum levels of sustainability by operating an environmentally responsible circular economy will find some valuable suggestions and accounts in this issue to help them with their decision-making processes.

    We look forward to working with you!

    Yours Ludger Rethmann

PPP established back in 2003

  • Together, Bremerhavener Entsorgungsgesellschaft mbH (BEG), its subsidiary BEG logistics GmbH (BELG) and Richard Bauer Rohstoff-Großhandel GmbH & Co. KG (BAUER), in which BEG has a controlling interest, provide a host of wastewater and waste management services. This successful service company is a public private partnership (PPP) managed by the majority shareholder REMONDIS and was founded between the City of Bremerhaven and Holding Entsorgung Bremerhaven (HEB / a firm run by REMONDIS) following the privatisation of BEG in 2003. Since then, the city has not only benefited from the company’s exemplary waste collection, recycling and wastewater treatment operations. It has also received tax and dividend payments from the company – helping to fill the public purse.

Waste management and water tasks

  • In the early 2000s, the City of Bremerhaven decided to put out a tender across Europe to find a strategic partner for its waste management and wastewater treatment operations. This process led to the creation of BEG as a public private partnership in 2003. The company’s tasks, as set out in the contractual agreement, are to collect and recycle waste material, treat wastewater and set up and operate all plants and facilities required to do this – with emphasis put on protecting the environment at all times. This also includes performing any official duties connected to these, if they have been transferred to the company, and delivering any services needed to plan, build and commission any other technical facilities.

  • “The only way to achieve our objectives of creating stable fees and charges, meeting environmental standards and securing jobs – as well as ensuring the public purse benefited from BEG’s growing profits – was to enter into a PPP. Our expectations have been fully met throughout the collaboration to date.”

    Torsten Neuhoff, Mayor of the City of Bremerhaven

A low-carbon energy supply

  • BEG also operates a waste-to-energy (WtE) plant in Bremerhaven to thermally treat non-recyclable waste, the ‘Grauer Wall’ landfill and two sewage treatment plants. The WtE plant is permitted to treat 401,500 Mg every year. Thanks to the 110,000 MWh of electricity and 250,000 MWh of district heat generated by this facility, BEG is making a significant contribution towards supplying households in Bremerhaven with a low-carbon supply of electricity and heat. All in all, this amount covers around 10% of the electricity and 30% of the heat needed by the Bremerhaven households.

Wastewater treatment with added benefits

The central sewage treatment plant (STP) has been designed for 600,000 PE and treats wastewater from the City of Bremerhaven, the City of Langen, the District of Loxstedt, the fishing port and some areas of the District of Schiffdorf. It processes around 30,000m³ of wastewater on dry days and this figure can rise to up to 120,000m³ on days with heavy rain. All in all, it treats approx. 12,500,000m³ per year. One of the highlights of this facility is its combined heat and power plant which transforms the gas produced by the digestion process into energy. A small but not insignificant contribution towards tackling climate change. Each year, it produces around 8,500 MWh of electricity and approx. 4,500 MWh of heat. Thanks to the measures being carried out to optimise energy consumption, the STP is self-sufficient both when it comes to heat and electricity.

Waste collection 2.0

BEG’s portfolio of waste management services ranges from collecting and transporting municipal waste, old paper, sales packaging, hazardous materials and waste electrical and electronic equipment from the households in Bremerhaven, to collecting waste materials from ships and commercial waste, all the way through to providing customer services and waste management advice. BEG has been demonstrating its innovative spirit in the area of waste management logistics since the end of 2019 when it began using a fuel cell vehicle to empty the bins – the first of its kind across the whole of Germany.

A resounding success

With a 25.1% share in the business, the City of Bremerhaven also attends BEG’s shareholder meetings and has seats on its supervisory board. All resolutions made to date have been passed unanimously. The City of Bremerhaven participates in the results in line with the size of its share in the business and appreciates BEG as a business partner, employer, apprenticeship business, a customer for other companies in the region and a local business tax payer.

Facts & Figures

  • Bremerhavener Entsorgungsgesellschaft mbH (BEG)

    • PPP model:
      public private partnership

      71.16% REMONDIS
      25.1% City of Bremerhaven
      3.74% Nehlsen

      Specialises in:
      municipal & commercial services in the areas of waste collection & recycling, water processing

    • Municipal services for:
      ca. 1,000,000 local residents

      Residual materials processed per year:
      ca. 370,000t

      Wastewater treated per year:

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