Research and Development

One of HHLA’s strategic objectives is to continuously improve the efficiency of its operating systems, and consequently its competitiveness, by developing application-oriented technologies. The main focus of these activities is therefore on engineering and IT-based innovation projects. Due to close collaboration with technical universities, institutes, industry partners and government authorities, joint projects can be planned, managed and developed by task forces.

In the 2016 financial year, HHLA mainly focused its resources and available capacity on continuing its research in the area of battery-powered container vehicles for horizontal transport.

Battery-Powered Container Vehicles

Researching and developing eco-friendly drive systems is a key aspect of HHLA’s sustainable business model. The BESIC project (Battery Electric Heavy Goods Transports within an Intelligent Container ), which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and conducted by HHLA at the Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in collaboration with Gottwald Port Technology, Vattenfall Europe Innovation and several research bodies, was successfully concluded in the year under review. As part of the project, a battery management system was developed that uses targeted data exchange between the energy supplier and the terminal to ensure that the batteries for the battery-operated (AGVs) are always charged at the best-possible time, from both an environmental and operational perspective.

Performance Certified

In order to document their performance, CTA and CTT once again received certification in accordance with the Container Quality Indicator (CTQI) in the reporting year. The standard, which was developed by the Global Institute of Logistics and Germanischer Lloyd, checks criteria such as the safety, performance level and efficiency of a terminal on both the quay-side and in the , as well as its links to pre- and onward-carriage systems. With their successful certification, the terminals once again confirmed their high levels of performance and compliance with all quality standards.

Other Research Projects

The foundation for a further research project at CTA was also laid in the year under review. It is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) under the recently introduced Innovative Port Technologies (IHATEC) incentive scheme. The project promotes the development of solutions for man-machine interaction in shared working environments.


In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)

A fully automatic, driverless transport vehicle which carries containers back and forth between the container gantry cranes on the quayside and the block storage yard at the HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder.


In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.


A port’s catchment area.