NFR Part of the non-financial-report

Climate protection and energy efficiency

In order to effectively mitigate climate change, HHLA focuses on lowering its absolute CO2 emissions. By steadily increasing its energy efficiency and the proportion of renewables in its energy mix, HHLA aims to decouple handling and transport volumes on the one hand and CO2 emissions on the other. HHLA has reported on its carbon footprint regularly since 2008 as part of the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). 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. In the reporting period, CDP gave HHLA a B score. Of the 13,126 participating companies worldwide, only 5.5 % obtained a better score (A or A-).

HHLA calculates its CO2 emissions on the basis of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard (Revised Edition), an international standard for recording greenhouse gas emissions. Within the HHLA Group, greenhouse gas emissions mainly relate to CO2. Carbon emissions are primarily influenced by throughput volumes at the port and inland , rail transport volumes and the proportion 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 port terminal 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 are also taken into account in the Global Logistics Emission Council (GLEC) Framework 2.0.

Absolute CO2 emissions

in tonnes

Absolute CO2 emissions (bar chart)

The outstanding importance of reduced absolute CO2 emissions is expressed by HHLA’s climate protection target: to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by at least 50 % by 2030 and to become fully climate neutral by 2040. The base year is 2018. In a comparison between the base year and the reporting year, absolute CO2emissions decreased by 27.0 % to 124,418 tonnes (2018: 170,346 tonnes).

Including the use of electricity from renewable sources, which led to a 71,522-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions, absolute CO2 emissions decreased by 19.7 % to 124,418 tonnes (previous year: 154,954 tonnes). The development of CO2 emissions during the reporting year was mainly influenced by the significant increase in the proportion of renewables. While 86.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity was procured from renewable energy sources in 2020, this figure rose to 205.4 GWh in the reporting period. This rise was mainly due to electric trains in Germany switching to electricity from renewable sources. Consequently, the proportion of renewables in HHLA’s total power consumption increased to 60.0 % in the reporting period (previous year: 27.9 %). -related CO2 emissions due to the use of electric locomotives decreased by 41.6 % to 38,581 tonnes during the reporting year.

Electricity from renewables was also used in the following areas in the reporting period:

  • For all office buildings and workshops in Hamburg occupied by HHLA, the Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA), the all-electric yard crane system at the Container Burchardkai (CTB) and for the at the Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) and the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT). In the reporting period, additional quantities of renewable energies were procured largely to compensate for CO2 emissions from the operation of a high-efficiency CHP unit.
  • Among the holdings abroad, the HHLA terminal TK Estonia in Tallinn has been using power from renewable sources since the middle of the reporting year.

Trends in specific CO2 emissions

Specific CO2 emissions compared with 2008 in %

Trends in specific CO2 emissions (bar chart)

Despite an increase in throughput at the four purely container-based terminals operated by HHLA, CO2 emissions continued to decrease. At 53,583 tonnes, CO2 emissions fell year-on-year by 4.7 % in the reporting period (previous year: 54,548 tonnes). Activities organised and carried out at HHLA terminals by third parties that resulted in CO2 emissions are not included in the statistics.

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 declaration/remuneration report

Certified climate neutrality

Direct and indirect CO2 emissions

in thousand tonnes

Direct and indirect CO2 emissions (bar chart)

The HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in Hamburg is the world’s first container handling facility to be certified climate-neutral. It is largely electrified, using power from renewable energy sources. Terminal processes that still produce CO2 emissions are being gradually electrified or the transition to electricity is being field-tested. During the reporting year, the CO2 emissions of CTA were calculated by TÜV Nord in accordance with DIN ISO 14064-3:2000 and its climate-neutral status certified with the TN-CC-020 standard. All unavoidable CO2 emissions resulting from container throughput (including Scope 3), amounting to 16,073 tonnes (previous year: 19,619 tonnes), were offset via Gold Standard projects.

CO2 emissions for transporting a to/from Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Koper within the METRANS network, as verified by the independent certification body TÜV Nord, form the basis for the climate-neutral product HHLA Pure. HHLA Pure stands for climate-neutral container transport and handling. During the reporting year, a total of 911,975 standard containers () were transported with HHLA Pure. The resulting 45,118 tonnes of verified CO2 emissions were offset via Gold Standard climate protection projects.

Measures to reduce CO2 emissions

An extensive programme to boost energy efficiency and thus lower CO2 emissions within individual HHLA companies was continued during the reporting year with a variety of measures. These include retrofitting more energy-efficient technologies, such as the ongoing transition to LED lighting, shortening journeys via improved yard planning, increasing the quota of containers handled in tandem and raising the proportion of journeys in which two containers are transported simultaneously.

Direct and indirect energy consumption and supply












Diesel, petrol and heating oil in million liter











Natural gas in million m3











Electricity1 in million kWh











thereof from renewable energies in million kWh











Traction current in million kWh











thereof from renewable energies in million kWh











District heating in million kWh











District heating supply2 in kWh










Consumption of natural gas, traction current and district heating in 2021 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

The HHLA climate protection goal can be achieved by increasing the proportion of renewables in the Group’s energy mix. For substantial CO2 reductions, HHLA is aiming to electrify more of its equipment and machinery at the terminals, thus substituting fossil fuels for renewables. Such equipment and machinery produces fewer emissions and less noise and is also easier to service.

In order to achieve its climate change mitigation target, HHLA focuses on energy-efficient equipment, facilities, machinery and processes. These advanced technologies not only lower emissions locally but also offer economic benefits, which are becoming increasingly important as energy prices rise. Several projects in this area were successfully implemented during the reporting period:

  • The number of all-electric cars in operational use grew to 96 in the reporting period (previous year: 93).
  • 18 new hybrid and ten locally emission-free (AGVs) were put into operation in 2021 as we continued the expansion of our fleet of particularly energy-efficient and low-pollution heavy equipment. These hybrid straddle carriers have a much smaller and more efficient combustion engine, combined with a large battery. In real-life terminal operations, the new hybrid straddle carriers achieve diesel savings of around 30 %.
  • At CTA, our first all-electric tractor unit was added to the fleet. This is used to transport containers from the container rail terminal to the yard crane system without any local emissions. This means it is now possible, for the first time, to transport a container from the quayside to the container rail terminal using purely electric equipment.
  • Two electrified storage blocks, with three stacking cranes each, were put into operation at CTB during the reporting period. This enables containers to be stored and retrieved efficiently, with low emissions and requiring little space.
  • METRANS continued to expand its fleet with the addition of a further seven multi-system locomotives into operation, METRANS continued to expand its fleet. These multi-system locomotives can be used for cross-border freight traffic in various European countries.
  • 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 50001:2018 and covering all HHLA companies with measurable energy consumption in Germany, was successfully recertified during the reporting period.

Hydrogen as a fuel source

HHLA is also continually searching for new options to help the company reach its goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2040. As a fuel source, hydrogen can play a key role in a company’s decarbonisation efforts. HHLA therefore plays an active role in the recently established H2Global Foundation and is one of 240 partners from science and industry involved in the TransHyDE project.

In contrast to grey hydrogen, green hydrogen is rarely used where it is produced. TransHyDE is addressing this challenge by developing an overarching concept for the import, distribution and use of hydrogen. Together with its partners, HHLA is analysing the various transportation and storage options for hydrogen in high-pressure containers and via LOHCs (liquid organic hydrogen carriers).


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.

Standard container

A TEU is a 20-foot standard container, used as a unit for measuring container volumes. A 20-foot standard container is 6.06 metres long, 2.44 metres wide and 2.59 metres high.

TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit)

A TEU is a 20-foot standard container, used as a unit for measuring container volumes. A 20-foot standard container is 6.06 metres long, 2.44 metres wide and 2.59 metres high.

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.