Environmental and resource protection


HHLA’s efforts to conserve resources is demonstrated by its waste management system and the use of recycled building materials for the maintenance of its areas. With regard to waste management, HHLA reduces refuse and separates rubbish for recycling wherever possible so that reusable waste can be fed back into the resource cycle. Due to the fluctuation in throughput volumes at the various HHLA terminals, the quantities of each waste type can vary widely from one year to the next.

Developments in the volume of waste

in thousand tonnes

Development in the volume of waste (line chart)

The total amount of waste produced at the German sites, including waste from a construction project, increased by 18.8 % to 9,940 t in the reporting period (previous year: 8,366 t). This increase is primarily due to two effects: the rise in fruit waste and waste from necessary soil decontamination.

Non-hazardous waste

Fruit waste, which accounts for the largest percentage of waste at around 40 %, increased by approximately 56 % to 3,975 t in the 2020 financial year (previous year: 2,547 t). This type of waste includes fruit – such as bananas or pineapple – no longer suitable for consumption or processing. HHLA has no influence on the amount of such waste, as the fruit is already unfit for sale when it arrives in Hamburg and has to be disposed of. Most of this waste, 2,441 t (previous year: 1,552 t), was used by an external biogas plant in order to generate electricity. 486,451 kWh of electricity were produced without CO2 in this way in the reporting period.

The mixed metals waste category was the second-largest by volume during the reporting period, with a decrease of 9.4 % to 946 t (previous year: 1,044 t). This type of waste includes items such as steel cables from or yard cranes that are not longer fit for use. This type of waste is fully recycled.

Packaging made from paper, cardboard and mixed paper decreased year-on-year by 5.6 % to 655 t (previous year: 695 t) and represented the third-largest type of waste. The volume of commercial waste for pretreatment and mixed packaging decreased by 48.8 % to 570 t (previous year: 1,112 t). This significant reduction is due to a reclassification of commercial waste for thermal use (difficult or impossible to sort). Together with the other new type of waste, residual waste, which accounts for 245 t, this new category of waste accounting for 264 t explains the marked decrease in commercial waste by 543 t. Scrap wood and building timber represented the fifth-largest category of non-hazardous waste with a year-on-year decrease of 12.9 % to 313 t (previous year: 359 t).

Hazardous waste

The second significant effect that influenced the total waste volume trend in the reporting period was a soil decontamination project that resulted in the disposal of 610 t of hazardous soil.

The second-largest waste type in the hazardous waste category was sludge from oil/water separators. which amounted to 510 t (previous year: 524 t). This type of waste primarily results from the cleaning of and other large equipment with pressure washers and is the fifth-largest waste category.


After energy, the next largest direct material input at HHLA is construction materials. These are used in the form of recycled building materials to maintain existing terminal areas and to prepare other areas for different purposes. The use of recycled building materials increased year-on-year by 16.2 % to 36,695 t (previous year: 31,566 t). The use of asphalt recycling accounted for the largest share of this total (43.1 %). 6,027 t of recycled building materials were used for the expansion of the Container Tollerort (CTT) and 4,380 t for the sustainable resurfacing of the Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA). Electric furnace slag accounted for the second-largest share (15.9 %), followed by slag from waste incineration plants that was utilised to expand the area used for the yard crane system at the Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB), as well as for the sustainable resurfacing of the CTA. This accounted for 14.1 % of the recycled building materials. 12.1 % of the recycled building materials used were attributable to slag from waste incineration plants that was bonded with cement to build the storage blocks at CTB. 9.5 % of the recycled building materials were used as milled asphalt (bonded with cement) for renovation at CTA. The remaining 5.4 % was attributable to a concrete-mineral aggregate for the block storage at CTB.

Water consumption

Water consumption

in dam3

Developments in water consumption (bar chart)

HHLA locations: Germany, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine

Water is mostly used in the HHLA Group to clean large-scale equipment and containers, as well as for employee hygiene. Compared to the previous year, the amount of water consumed by operations in Germany, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine fell by 6.2 % to 92,727 m3 in 2020 (previous year: 98,895 m3). At most sites, this decrease was due to fewer employees being on site. Many employees were already given the option of working from home from March 2020 onwards. HHLA’s facilities draw water from the public supply network.


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

Container gantry crane

A crane system used to load and discharge container ships. As ships are becoming larger and larger, the latest container gantry cranes have much higher, longer jibs to match.

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.


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

Block storage

Automated block storage is used at the HHLA Container Terminals Altenwerder and Burchardkai to stack containers in a compact and efficient manner. Containers are stacked in several storage blocks. Rail-mounted gantry cranes are used to transport and stow the boxes.