Climate protection and energy efficiency*

HHLA has reported on its carbon footprint regularly since 2008 as part of the international Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP is a non-profit initiative that manages one of the world’s largest databases of corporate greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of institutional investors and makes this information available to the public.

HHLA calculates its CO2 emissions on the basis of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard (Revised Edition), a global standard for recording greenhouse gas emissions. Within the HHLA Group, emissions mainly relate to CO2. These are primarily influenced by throughput and transport volumes, services provided by the Group’s own locomotives and the use of electricity from renewable sources. In line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, electricity procured separately from renewable sources was classified as carbon neutral in the calculation of specific emissions. For the calculation of absolute emissions, the CO2 emissions, which are lower due to the use of electricity from renewable sources, are shown separately. The power needed by a depends largely on the number of seaborne containers it handles and the number of containers transported over land by rail and truck. HHLA uses seaborne and onshore throughput in containers as an effective indicator to determine specific CO2 emissions in line with the recommendations of the European Economics Environment Group (EEEG). The recommendations of the EEEG working group are also taken into account in the Global Logistics Emission Council (GLEC) Framework 2.0. HHLA set itself the target of reducing specific CO2 emissions – the CO2 emissions per container handled – by at least 30 % by 2020. The base year is 2008. This aim was surpassed significantly in 2019 with a value of 38.7 % (previous year: 31.7 %). Specific CO2 emissions fell by 10.3 % in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Specific CO2 emissions since 2008

Climate protection target: 30 % or more reduction by 2020

Changes in specific CO2 emissions since 2008 (bar chart)

HHLA set itself a new climate protection target in the reporting year: to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by at least 50 % by 2030 and to become fully climate neutral by 2040. The base year is 2008.

A three-year average showing annual trends in specific CO2 emissions forms part of the targets agreed with the Executive Board. This is taken into account when determining Executive Board remuneration. Achieving the agreed target range triggers the payment of a corresponding bonus. Corporate governance, remuneration report

Including the use of electricity from renewable energy sources, which led to a 23,834 t reduction in CO2 emissions, absolute CO2 emissions decreased by 3,160 t from 170,346 t, or by 1.9 % (previous year: 167,186 t). This decrease in CO2 emissions was achieved despite the rise in throughput and transport volumes and the use of our own traction fleet. Moreover, CO2 emissions of the terminal operator HHLA TK in Estonia, acquired in the second half of 2018, were included in the calculations for the first time. The increased use of METRANS’ own traction fleet of environmentally friendly electric multi-system locomotives is reflected in the 3.6 GWh increase of current consumption. Traction-related CO2 emissions decreased year-on-year by 2,255 t. This was due in particular to the use of electricity from renewable energy sources for traction in Austria. Among the four purely container-based terminals operated by HHLA, CO2 emissions were also lowered despite a slight increase in the volumes handled. At 63,936 t, CO2 emissions were reduced year-on-year by 7.1 %, or 4,874 T€ , in the reporting period (previous year: 59,062 t). This already takes into account the use of electricity from renewable energy sources. Activities organised and carried out at our by third parties that resulted in CO2 emissions are not included in the statistics.

Direct and indirect CO2 emissions

in thousand tonnes

Direct and indirect CO2 emissions (bar chart)

The Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) was the world’s first container terminal to certified climate-neutral by TÜV Nord. To achieve climate neutrality, all unavoidable CO2 emissions resulting from container throughput, amounting to 20,963 t and including Scope 3 emissions, are offset via Gold Standard projects.

Launched during the reporting period and certified by TÜV Nord, HHLA Pure offers customers climate-neutral container handling and transportation. For this product, the CO2 emissions resulting from handling and transportation within the HHLA network are offset via compensation projects.

A wide range of projects to boost energy efficiency and thus lower CO2 emissions were carried out by individual HHLA companies in the reporting period. This includes exchanging existing equipment, such as uninterruptible power supply systems, for more energy-efficient ones, temporarily switching off power-consuming components as required, and the training of employees.

Direct and indirect energy consumption and supply












Consumption of natural gas, traction current and district heating in 2019 is based on preliminary and estimated figures.


Electricity without traction current


Generated by a highly efficient combinded heat and power generation plant (CHP) based on preliminary figures

Diesel, petrol and heating oil in million liter











Natural gas in million m3











Electricity1 in million kWh











thereof from renewable energies











Traction current in million kWh











District heating in million kWh











District heating supply2 in million kWh








A long-term increase in the percentage of electricity used within the Group’s energy mix will enable the company to utilise more renewable energies and thereby substantially reduce its carbon footprint. HHLA is therefore converting more and more of its equipment and machinery at the terminals to electricity. Such equipment and machinery produces fewer emissions and less noise and is also easier to service. The electricity required by all office buildings and workshops in Hamburg occupied by HHLA, the CTA, the all-electric yard crane system at the Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) and for the at the Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) and the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) comes from renewable energy sources. In the reporting year, additional quantities of renewable energies were procured, largely to compensate for CO2 emissions from the operation of a CHP unit. During the reporting period, these measures reduced CO2 emissions by 23,834 t tonnes (previous year: 22,812 t). At the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT), a photovoltaic system installed and operated by the energy supplier Hamburg Energie Solar produced 108,280 kWh of CO2-free electricity in the reporting period.

Energy-efficient equipment, systems, machinery and processes not only reduce local emissions, but also have economic benefits. With this in mind, HHLA pays particular attention to the use of energy-efficient, low-emission machinery and equipment when it makes new and replacement . In 2019, the fleet of all-electric cars grew to 89 (previous year: 81). HHLA’s electric vehicles are powered by renewable electricity and are a quiet, low-maintenance solution that do not generate any local emissions. The electric vehicles cover a distance of over 550,000 km each year and thus reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 175 tonnes.

In the course of switching to low-emission or locally emission-free machines and equipment, a total of 49 and (AGVs) were put into operation during the reporting year. Of the 49 vehicles, 37 are all-electric AGVs and 12 are low-emission straddle carriers. For the first time, the fleet of straddle carriers now includes several vehicles with innovative hybrid technology. These vehicles have a much smaller and more efficient combustion engine, combined with a large battery. Together with the electric wheel hub motors, this results in fuel savings of over 15 %. The all-electric AGVs are equipped with fast-charging lithium-ion batteries and replace the existing diesel-powered AGVs. In addition to switching to low-emission or locally emission-free machines and equipment at its port terminals, METRANS continued its fleet expansion by ordering ten multi-system locomotives for use in international freight traffic within Central and Eastern Europe. The locomotives, which are allowed to operate in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, are in the process of being rolled out. One additional low-emission hybrid locomotive for heavy shunting has also been ordered.

In addition, the computer-aided optimisation of container storage positions minimises the distance travelled by transport equipment, thereby reducing energy consumption and noise pollution. The use of retreaded tyres for various container handling equipment and the on-site cleaning and reuse of used oils also improve the utilisation of resources.

The existing energy management system, certified according to DIN ISO 50001 and covering all HHLA companies with measurable energy consumption in Germany and Poland, was audited with no objections during the reporting year.


The action of a locomotive pulling a train.


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


The action of a locomotive pulling a train.


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

Portal crane (also called a rail gantry crane or storage crane)

Crane units spanning their working area like a gantry, often operating on rails. Also called a storage crane when used at a block storage facility, or a rail gantry crane when used to handle rail cargo.


Payments for investments in property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets.

Straddle carrier (also called a van carrier or VC)

A vehicle used to transport containers at the terminals. The driver manoeuvres their straddle carrier into position above a container and lifts it up. The vehicles can stack containers up to four high.

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.