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 the holding company 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 6,296 employees at the end of 2019. This figure rose by 359, or 6.0 %, compared to the previous year. The increase is chiefly attributable to the recruitment of new staff in the segment. In addition, HHLA used an annual average of 753 employees of Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft (previous year: 760).

Employees by segment

In the Container segment, the number of employees rose to 3,186 as of 31 December 2019. Total headcount was up by 52 year-on-year in the reporting period (previous year: 3,134). This represents an increase of 1.7 %. Due to the expansion of services and the increase in vertical integration, headcount in the Intermodal segment also rose by a further 241 employees in total to 2,243 (previous year: 2,002). Employee numbers in the Logistics segment increased to 167 in the reporting period (previous year: 141). The number of employees at the strategic management holding company increased by 5.5 % to 612 (previous year: 580). In the Real Estate segment, headcount amounted to 88 as of 31 December 2019 (previous year: 80). In both years, this figure includes employees from the management holding company who are assigned to the Real Estate segment.


by segments













1.7 %







12.0 %







5.5 %







18.4 %

Real Estate






10.0 %

HHLA Group






6.0 %

Employees by region

Employees by region

as of 31.12.2019

Employees by region (pie chart)

1 Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia

In geographical terms, the workforce was concentrated mainly in Germany, with 3,597 employees (previous year: 3,489), the majority of whom worked in Hamburg. This corresponds to a share of 57.1 % (previous year: 58.8 %). The number of staff employed abroad rose by 10.3 % to 2,699 (previous year: 2,448). This is chiefly due to the increase in the Intermodal segment. In Central Europe, headcount grew by 12.5 % to 1,752 (previous year: 1,558). In Ukraine, the number of employees fell by 0.2 % to 460 (previous year: 461).


In 2019, the number of new employees who had not previously worked for HHLA in Germany, for example via Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft mbH Hamburg (GHB), was 204 (previous year: 121). 38 % of them were under 30 years of age (previous year: 40 %).






thereof females


thereof females

< 30 years






30.8 %

30 – 50 years






12.5 %

> 50 years






22.7 %

HHLA Germany






20.6 %

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 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 4.7 %, the fluctuation rate (excluding internal transfers within the Group) in Germany increased slightly year-on-year (previous year: 4.2 %). Of the 169 people who left the company, 40.8 % were retirees (previous year: 41.2 %).

Intermodal/Intermodal systems

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


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