Customer structure and sales

The customer base in the Container and Intermodal segments consists mainly of shipping companies and freight forwarders. The services provided in the Logistics segment are aimed at various customer groups, ranging from steel companies and power plants  (in the field of bulk cargo handling) to international operators of ports and other logistics centres (in the field of port consulting). The Real Estate segment lets its office space and commercial premises to German and international customers from a variety of sectors, ranging from logistics and trading companies to media, consulting and advertising agencies, fashion labels, hotels and restaurants, and companies from the creative industries.

Globally operating container shipping companies account for the largest share of HHLA’s . In ship handling, HHLA’s container work with shipping companies on a neutral basis (multi-user principle) and offer a wide range of high-quality services. The HHLA customer base remains in a state of flux on account of the ongoing consolidation in the container shipping segment. The acquisition of UASC by Hapag-Lloyd was already completed in the previous year, as was the acquisition of Hamburg Süd by Maersk Line. The acquisition of OOCL by the Chinese line COSCO Shipping was finalised in 2018. The merger of three Japanese shipping companies – NYK Line, MOL and K Line – to create Ocean Network Express (ONE) was also completed. ONE launched operations in April 2018.

In the reporting year, HHLA’s customer base included all of the world’s top ten container shipping companies. HHLA therefore considers itself well placed to also meet the future requirements of its clients in the shipping sector.  Business forecast

Top 10 shipping companies

by carrying capacity in thousand TEU as of 31.12.2018



Shipping company


Alliance 2018



Source: Alphaliner Monthly Monitor, January 2019

















COSCO Group (inkl. OOCL)


Ocean Alliance







Ocean Alliance







THE Alliance





ONE (MOL, NYK, K Line)


THE Alliance







Ocean Alliance





Yang Ming


THE Alliance













2M - associated



The major shipping line alliances formed in 2017 – 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance – remain in place. In addition, Ocean Alliance has extended its existing contract until 2027.

Capacity breakdown by shipping line alliances

on Far East–Europe services as of 31.12.2018

Capacity breakdown by shipping line alliances (pie chart)

Source: Alphaliner Monthly Monitor, January 2019

Sales activities in the Container segment are organised by means of key account management. In the and Logistics segments, sales are generally managed locally by the individual companies. As far as possible, all activities follow the strategic approach of vertical integration, i.e. offering comprehensive transport and logistics services from a single source. The Real Estate segment’s sales team offers potential clients and tenants a wide range of services for properties in its two main districts – Hamburg’s Speicherstadt historical warehouse district and the northern banks of the river Elbe/fish market area – as well as for logistics properties in and around the port.

Revenue distribution by customer

in the Container segment at the main hub of Hamburg in 2018

Revenue distribution by customer (pie chart)

The share of segment revenue attributable to HHLA’s five most important customers in the Container segment rose strongly again in the 2018 financial year, taking it to 71 % in total (previous year: 60 %). Due to the wave of consolidation, also the share of segment revenue of the ten most important customers rose slightly to 92 % (previous year: 89 %). The share of the 15 most important customers was only marginally higher than in the previous year at 97 % (previous year: 96 %). HHLA has maintained commercial relationships with the majority of its most important customers for well over two decades.

HHLA concludes framework contracts with its shipping customers that set out both the scope and remuneration of services. As the usage volume for these services is not fixed, there is no order backlog in the traditional sense for the specific services provided by HHLA.


Revenue from sales or lettings and from services rendered, less sales deductions and VAT.


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

Intermodal/Intermodal Systems

Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.