Legal framework

In its business operations, HHLA is subject to numerous German and foreign statutory provisions and regulations such as public law, trade, customs, labour, capital market and competition regulations.

The regulatory environment for HHLA’s commercial activities in and around the Port of Hamburg is largely determined by the Hamburg Port Development Act (Hamburgisches Hafenentwicklungsgesetz – HafenEG). HafenEG’s objectives are to maintain the Port of Hamburg’s competitiveness as an international all-purpose port, to safeguard freight volumes and to use the public infrastructure as efficiently as possible. To this end, the Port of Hamburg employs a “landlord model”, by which the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) owns the port area and is responsible for building, developing and maintaining the infrastructure, while the privately owned port operators are responsible for the development and maintenance of the suprastructure (buildings and facilities). HHLA has concluded long-term lease agreements with HPA for those port areas of importance for its business operations. Lease agreements are based on HPA’s general terms and conditions for port-related real estate (AVB-HI).

For the construction, alteration and operation of its handling facilities, HHLA is reliant on the issuance and continued existence of authorisations under public law, especially official authorisations in accordance with the German Federal Emissions Control Act (Bundesimmissionsschutzgesetz – BImSchG), the applicable local building regulations and water and waterways laws. All construction and extension measures require separate authorisations by the respective authorities, irrespective of the plan approval procedure for the expansion of the handling areas. HHLA’s affiliated companies are subject to a number of strict regulatory requirements, especially regulations concerning the handling, storage and transport of environmentally harmful substances and hazardous goods, as well as rules concerning technical safety, health and safety in the workplace and environmental protection.

HHLA’s commercial activities are governed predominantly by the provisions of German and European competition law. This means that its pricing is determined by the market and is, as a matter of principle, not regulated.

Due to the dangers posed by international terrorism, there are strict security precautions at all ports. An essential component of these precautions is the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which requires the internationally standardised installation of measures to prevent terrorist attacks on ocean-going vessels and port facilities. For the operators of port facilities, this involves observing strict access control and implementing numerous other measures for averting danger. In the area of the Port of Hamburg, the aforementioned international provisions are implemented and specified by the German Port Security Act (Hafensicherheitsgesetz – HafenSG).

The regulatory environment for business activities in the segment is largely determined by the EU directive establishing a single European railway area (Directive 2012/34/EU) and the national implementing legislation. In particular, these include regulations governing the licensing of rail companies, the use of railway infrastructure, the associated charges as well as rail operation. The main legislation in Germany are the General Railways Act (Allgemeines Eisenbahngesetz – AEG), which sets out the requirements for rail operation, and the Railway Regulation Act (Eisenbahnregulierungsgesetz – ERegG), which, in particular, contains provisions on network access and route pricing. In addition, there are further national, European and – especially for transnational rail transport – international regulations.

The legal framework for HHLA is subject to constant change at national, European and international level in order to keep pace with technical progress and increased sensitivity with regard to safety and environmental concerns, among other issues. In the 2018 financial year, significant legislative procedures for HHLA included the continued modernisation of the Union Customs Code at European level, as well as the corresponding delegated regulations. In Germany, the proposed draft legislation to accelerate the planning and construction of infrastructure projects as well as initiatives to improve the process for levying import VAT and to reduce route prices for using rail infrastructure were of relevance for HHLA. In the reporting period, however, there were no amendments to the legal framework with a significant impact on the Group’s operating activities or its assets, financial or earnings position.

Intermodal/Intermodal Systems

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