Facts/Figures and Industry-Structure

Industry and Market Overview

With one of the lowest unemployment rates and an export rate of 56,4 % the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz is one of the most dynamic economies of Germany. Chemicals, automotive, metal production and metals products, mechanical engineering and also food and beverage manufacturing sectors are the pillars of the state’s economy. The state has developed several industrial clusters among which the most prominent are Commercial Vehicle Cluster, Metal and Ceramic Cluster and the most exciting up-coming sector is the one of renewable energies and energy efficiency.


Economic structure in manufacturing sector of the Federal States, 2019 share of gross value added in current prices in %

State

in %

Baden-Württemberg

39

Thüringen

34

Bayern

33

Saarland

33

Niedersachsen

33

Rheinland-Pfalz

32

Sachsen-Anhalt

32

Sachsen

31

Germany

30

Bremen

27

Nordrhein-Westfalen

27

Brandenburg

26

Schleswig-Holstein

25

Hessen

24

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

24

Hamburg

17

Berlin

14

Source: The Regional Accounts (VGRdL), 2020

 
   

Export ratios of the Federal States 2019 (except city states; companies with more than 50 employees)

State

in %

Baden-Württemberg

57.1

Hessen

56.5

Rheinland-Pfalz

56.4

Bayern

56.1

Saarland

50.8

Germany

50.8

Niedersachsen

48.9

Nordrhein-Westfalen

46.7

Schleswig-Holstein

39.9

Sachsen

39.2

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

37.9

Thüringen

37.1

Brandenburg

33.2

Sachsen-Anhalt

31.5

Source: Federal Statistical Office Germany, 2020

 

Structure of the Industrial Sector in Rheinland-Pfalz 2019

In terms of turnover and employment, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry is the most significant branch of the Rheinland-Pfalz industrial sector. With an annual turnover of almost 32 bn euros in 2019, the branch accounts for 35 percent of the total turnover of the state and with more than 59,000 employees for almost 22 percent of all the employed people in the manufacturing sectors. 

In second place among the highest-turnover branches of industry ranks automobile construction, which achieved a turnover of more than 15 bn euros in 2019 and employed more than 26,000 people in the same period. The development of this branch of industry in Rheinland-Pfalz is supported by the Rheinland-Pfalz Automotive Suppliers Initiative (www.auto-rlp.de) and the Commercial Vehicle Cluster (www.cvc-suedwest.com). 

In 2019 mechanical engineering occupied third place in terms of turnover with more than 10.5 bn euros and second place in terms of the number of employees with almost 43,000 people.


Ten largest sectors of manufacturing industries by employment 2019 for companies with 20 and more employees

Sector

Number

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals

59,057

Mechanical engineering

42,690

Metal production, metal products

39,265

Automotive

26,638

Food and beverages

24,931

Rubber and plastic products

25,285

Office and EDP equipment, optics, electrical equipment

17,163

Glass, ceramics, and mineral processing

17,042

Paper, publishing and printing

13,641

Furniture and other goods

7,168

Source: State Statistical Office Rheinland-Pfalz, 2020

 

Ten largest sectors of manufacturing industries by sales 2019 for companies with 20 and more employees

Sector

in € million

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals

31,741

Automotive

15,110

Mechanical engineering

10,523

Metal production, metal products

8,793

Food and beverages

7,911

Rubber and plastic products

5,561

Paper, publishing and printing

4,197

Glass, ceramics, and mineral processing

3,730

Office and EDP equipment, optics, electrical equipment

3,060

Furniture and other goods

1,260

Source: State Statistical Office Rheinland-Pfalz, 2020

 

At Home in Rheinland-Pfalz: Global Players and Hidden Champions

In the heart of Europe, in Rheinland-Pfalz, they make their home: powerfully active, world-renowned companies on the one hand, and traditional, medium-sized firms on the other — the Hidden Champions. Globally active businesses with their headquarters in Rheinland-Pfalz include BASF in Ludwigshafen, Boehringer Ingelheim on the Rhine, and Schott in Mainz. But other firms operating on a global scale also feel at home here in Rheinland-Pfalz for example Mercedes Benz with its commercial vehicle plant in Wörth and Abbott Laboratories in Ludwigshafen.

Hidden Champions such as Wirtgen, a manufacturer of road construction machinery, are also based in Rheinland-Pfalz, as are the high-tech bicycle manufacturer Canyon; the wine-logistics company Hillebrand, which is recording dream growth rates with the export boom in German wines; the family company Schiffer, with the well-known Dr. Best toothbrushes; or the brand Griesson - de Beukelaer.


This mix of companies is the key to the state's success. With an export ratio of 56,4 percent, the Rheinland-Pfalz economy traditionally occupies a leading position in Germany. Not least to thank for this are the state's small and medium-sized companies, which operate successfully on the worldwide markets. The radius of action of the Rheinland-Pfalz economy of course includes neighboring European countries such as France, as well as the United States. In recent years, trade has rapidly developed with Central and Eastern Europe, as well as with South and East Asia in the form of India and China.


A selection of the largest employers in Rheinland-Pfalz

Company

Location

AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG

Ludwigshafen

Adient Components Ltd. & Co. KG (former Johnson Controls)

Kaiserslautern

BASF SE

Ludwigshafen

BioNTech AG

Mainz

Birkenstock GmbH & Co. KG

Linz

Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH

Bitburg

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG

Ingelheim

BOMAG GmbH/Fayat-Group

Boppard

BorgWarner Turbo Systems Worldwide Headquarters GmbH

Kirchheimbolanden

Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz – Werk Wörth

Wörth

Debeka Gruppe

Koblenz

GRIESSON de Beukelaer GmbH & Co. KG

Polch

HARIBO GmbH & Co. KG

Grafschaft

John Deere/WIRTGEN GROUP

Windhagen

juwi AG

Wörrstadt

Klöckner Pentaplast GmbH

Heiligenroth

KSB SE & Co. KGaA

Frankenthal

Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG

Neuwied

Michelin Reifenwerke AG & CO. KGaA – Werk Bad Kreuznach

Bad Kreuznach

Opel Automobile GmbH – Werk Kaiserslautern

Kaiserslautern

Papier-Mettler Group

Morbach

RENOLIT SE

Worms

Schott AG

Mainz

Schütz GmbH & Co. KGaA

Selters

Stabilus GmbH

Koblenz

Tadano Demag GmbH (former Terex Cranes)

Zweibrücken

thyssenkrupp Rasselstein GmbH

Andernach

United Internet AG

Montabaur

ZDF Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen

Mainz

ZF Active Safety GmbH (former TRW Automotive)

Koblenz

Source: Own Research (Date: 2020)

 

Modern plastics and pesticides from BASF, drugs for respiratory and metabolic diseases from Boehringer Ingelheim — these are just two examples from an impressive portfolio of the two worldwide companies with their headquarters in Rheinland-Pfalz. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry looks back on a successful tradition spanning more than a century. 

Here, chemistry adds up! Compared to the German chemical industry, the chemical industry in Rheinland-Pfalz has an above-average headcount per company and excellent turnover. Thus, the sales of 6,915 euros per capita was generated in 2019, a total of more than 28 billion euros.

In Ludwigshafen, BASF operates one of the world’s largest contiguous chemicals sites. The pharmaceutical industry in Rheinland-Pfalz is flourishing. After all, Boehringer Ingelheim is the largest German research-based pharmaceutical company. And Abbott in Ludwigshafen underlines the quality of this industry in the business location that is Rhineland-Palatinate.

However, it is not only the large "model companies" in the chemical industry that embody the spirit of research and innovation in the state. Many small and medium-sized enterprises ensure that an export ratio of more than 70 percent is achieved in this industry with almost 48,400 employees. 

The future industry of biotechnology, closely linked to chemistry and pharmaceuticals, is undergoing rapid development in the state. In the Mainz area in particular, young, innovative biotech companies and spin-offs from Mainz University are benefiting from the infrastructure of technology centers and the excellent scientific environment as a source of ideas and a catalyst for progress.

Particularly worthy of mention is the Rheinland-Pfalz Cluster for Individualized ImmuneIntervention (CI3). This network pools the state’s outstanding expertise in the areas of pharmaceuticals, therapeutic approaches and diagnosis within the field of individualized immune intervention with the goal of becoming an international leader in this sector.

Renewable energies and energy efficiency are growing in significance. Expertise of this kind is at home in Rheinland-Pfalz, where environmental technologies are playing an ever-greater role. The spectrum of companies that compete in domestic and international markets is as wide as it is innovative. Their business is built on waste management and recycling, remediation, emission controls, energy generation and management, product-integrated environmental technology, and water and effluent treatment.

Rheinland-Pfalz is committed to intelligent, resource-conserving material-flow recycling, energy efficiency, and renewable energies. Technical environmental projects are conducted in close cooperation with IfaS, the Institute for applied material-flow management on the Birkenfeld Campus of Trier University of Applied Science — a site unlike any other operated by a German university. Students are enrolled in an interdisciplinary curriculum at this unique “Zero Emission University” — a name reflecting the ecological building layout, a CO2-neutral supply of heat and energy, and modern building and systems engineering.

Speaking of zero emissions: Weilerbach, located in the Palatinate region, is known as zero-emission village. The community has been successful in supplying virtually CO2-neutral renewable energy to its 4,700 residents. Morbach, another town, has been no less innovative in securing its energy requirements, by linking wind turbines, biogas, and photovoltaic installations with regional agriculture and forestry resources as well as industry. You’re welcome to visit and see how.

Recycling seeks to recover used materials. Companies highly specialized in glass, plastic, and metal recycling have been part of the Rheinland-Pfalz establishment for years. Theo Steil GmbH, for instance, operates one of Germany’s most modern steel and metal recycling plants in the harbor of Trier.

In the northern area of Rheinland-Pfalz, metals, ceramics and plastics are the stuff the future is made of. This area is developing into the leading innovation region in these industry branches. In particular the refractory industry, in the field of ceramics, offers huge development potential and plays a central role in, for example, steel production, the cement industry, the glass industry, and waste incineration.

In Höhr-Grenzhausen, there is located the European Center for Refractories. Together with the Research Institute of Inorganic Materials - Glass / Ceramics and the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz, field of study: Materials Technology - Glass and Ceramics, they all build a forward-looking competence center in the northern part of the State. Today, Rheinland-Pfalz presents itself as an innovative location of modern materials and surface technology.

With the Ceran® glass-ceramic cooktop panels developed by Schott, cooking was revolutionized across the globe, and glass-ceramic materials were applied to an entirely new use. At Schott in Mainz, glass-ceramics are also produced for many other promising areas of application that are interesting from a technical viewpoint, such as for mirror carriers in astronomy. The main mirrors for the Very Large Telescope in Chile are made of Zerodur® glass-ceramics. With a diameter of 8.2 m and weighing 23 metric tons, these are the largest glass-ceramic monoliths ever produced. 

At the world-renowned precious-stones site "World Center of Coloured Stones" at Idar-Oberstein, raw products from South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia are processed. Idar-Oberstein is the only center in the world in which all types of precious stones are polished and treated. The location stands out with its high level of technical and scientific knowhow, supported by businesses, world-leading research institutes, technical colleges, associations, and, last but not least, the German Precious Stone Museum. The German Diamond and Gemstone Laboratories at Idar-Oberstein (DEL) produce expert reports for customers across the globe.

The cockpit from Wörth (Mercedes-Benz), the seats from Rockenhausen, and the catalytic converter from Edenkoben: This is vehicle production, Rheinland-Pfalz style. More than 100 companies develop, optimize, and manufacture components ranging from brake pads to hydraulic shock absorbers and engine parts to sheet metal. From Rheinland-Pfalz, these products are shipped to locations across the globe. 

Over the last few decades, the automobile and commercial-vehicles industry has shaped the state's economic development like almost no other sector. After the chemicals industry, it is the most important industrial sector in Rheinland-Pfalz. 

To apply and develop our innovative expertise in all areas of commercial-vehicle production to an even higher level: That is the task of the Commercial Vehicle Cluster (CVC). There are now more than 80 partner organizations from the fields of economics, science, and management engaged in the CVC. A great deal of this involves the University of Kaiserslautern. The initiative's goal is clearly formulated: to gain a European pole position for Southwest Germany's commercial-vehicle industry – for the good of all and for the optimum development of, in particular, medium-sized supply businesses in Rheinland-Pfalz. 

This goal is supported by the key topic "Digital Commercial-Vehicle Technology Innovation Cluster", which the two Rheinland-Pfalz Fraunhofer Institutes are cultivating in cooperation with companies from the region. The goal of the Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster "Digital Commercial-Vehicle Technology (DNT)" is to reinforce research and development expertise for the use of information technology in the commercial-vehicles sector.

The healthcare industry is one of the most important sectors of our economy and will be one of the essential drivers of growth for the future. Three sources of impetus — advances in medical technology, increased health awareness, and increased life expectancy — have established new values and priorities that translate into considerable potential for new offers, products, and services in the healthcare industry.

With the opening up of new healthcare markets and the development of new products, services, and technical innovations, the healthcare industry provides an important contribution to the modernization and renewal of the economic structure of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. The health of the state’s citizens is increasingly becoming a beneficial factor of this location. Investments in the preservation and promotion of good health secure not only the economic productivity but also the social welfare of our state.

Already now, the healthcare industry forms a supporting pillar for Rheinland-Pfalz's current strength and future development. In 2019, this economic sector achieved a gross value added of 17.1 billion euros. This corresponds to a share of 12.9 percent. 334,000 people were employed in Rheinland-Pfalz‘s health care sector in 2019, which corresponds to a share of 16.4 percent of the total workforce.

The promotion of cross-sector and cross-industry cooperation and networking of cooperation partners have brought about the development of new products and innovative services that contributed to strengthening value added and employment, as well as ensuring that the high level of medical care is maintained. For the future, the signs continue to point for growth.