Development of headcount

HHLA aligns headcount planning with the economic development of its companies. It aims to provide the majority of its services using in-house staff. Employees of Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft (GHB) are used by the container handling firms in Hamburg to cover peaks in operating manpower requirements. The recruitment processes used by the individual companies of HHLA AG are monitored by the HHLA manpower planning team. Proposals to create additional jobs are examined for their consideration of economic planning and operational necessity as well as other options for filling positions internally or taking alternative action. This ensures that recruitment does not exceed the HR planning for individual companies approved by the Executive Board and can be synchronised with headcount trends at the other firms with the possibility of synergy effects.

Employees at the HHLA Group

as of 31.12

Development of employees (bar chart)

HHLA had a total of 5,937 employees at the end of 2018. This figure rose by 356, or 6.4 %, compared to the previous year. The increase is chiefly attributable to the acquisition of Estonia’s largest operator. In addition, HHLA used an annual average of 760 employees of Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft (previous year: 710).

Employees by segment

In the Container segment, the number of employees rose to 3,134 as of 31 December 2018. Total headcount was up by 225 year-on-year in the reporting period (previous year: 2,909). This corresponds to an increase of 7.7 %, which is chiefly attributable to the first-time consolidation of Transiidikeskuse AS. Due to the expansion of services and the increase in vertical integration, headcount in the segment also rose by a further 130 employees in total to 2,002 (previous year: 1,872). Employee numbers in the Logistics segment increased to 141 in the reporting period (previous year: 134). By contrast, the number of employees at the strategic management holding company declined by 1.3 % to 628 (previous year: 636). In the Real Estate segment, headcount remained virtually unchanged at 32 as of 31 December 2018 (previous year: 30).

Employees by segment














7.7 %







6.9 %







- 1.3 %







5.2 %

Real Estate






6.7 %

HHLA Group






6.4 %

Employees by region

Employees by region

as of 31.12.2018

Employees by region (pie chart)

1 Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia

In geographical terms, the workforce was concentrated mainly in Germany, with 3,489 employees (previous year: 3,479), the majority of whom worked in Hamburg. This corresponds to a share of 58.8 % (previous year: 62.3 %). The number of staff employed abroad rose by 16.5 % to 2,448 (previous year: 2,102). This is mainly due to the first-time consolidation of HHLA TK Estonia, with 220 employees. As a result, the share of employees at subsidiaries in Austria, Poland, Georgia and Estonia climbed to 429 people (previous year: 179). In South-East Europe, headcount grew by 6.3 % to 1,558 (previous year: 1,465). In Ukraine, the number of employees rose by 0.7 % to 461 (previous year: 458).


Of the 121 new employees who had not previously worked for HHLA in Germany, for example via Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft mbH Hamburg (GHB), 40 % were under 30 years of age.

Recruitments 2018





thereof females


thereof females

< 30 years






30.6 %

30 – 50 years






25.4 %

> 50 years






7.7 %

HHLA Group






25.6 %

Since 2013, HHLA has been employing a self-developed selection process (assessment centre) that not only considers the applicant’s personal and professional suitability, but also diversity aspects. These processes have been used for all blue-collar roles since the end of 2013 and at the holding company and all container terminals in Hamburg since 2014. Members of the company’s staff selection panels receive special training. In addition, the selection panel must include at least one woman for all selection processes in which the pool of applicants includes women.

At 4.2 %, the fluctuation rate (excluding internal transfers within the Group) in Germany declined slightly year-on-year (previous year: 4.7 %). Of the 148 people who left the company, 41.2 % were retirees (previous year: 40.2 %).


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.