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 decreased significantly by 26.1 % to 7,350 tonnes in the reporting period (previous year: 9,940 tonnes). This decrease is almost exclusively due to significantly lower quantities of fruit waste.

Non-hazardous waste

Fruit waste, which accounts for the largest share of waste at around 26 %, decreased by 51 % to 1,929 tonnes in the 2021 financial year (previous year: 3,975 tonnes), bringing it even below 2019 levels. 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, 1,451 tonnes (previous year: 2,441 tonnes), was used by an external biogas plant in order to generate electricity. 278,377 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 slight rise of 0.8 % to 954 tonnes (previous year: 946 tonnes). This type of waste includes items such as steel cables from or yard cranes that are no longer fit for use. This type of waste is fully recycled.

The volume of commercial waste for pretreatment and mixed packaging increased slightly by 6 % to 601 tonnes in 2021. This made it the third-largest waste category. Packaging made from paper, cardboard and mixed paper decreased by 21.3 % compared to 2020 levels to 516 tonnes (previous year: 655 tonnes), making it the fifth-largest type of non-hazardous waste. Residual waste, which is collected by the public refuse collection services, accounted for 252 tonnes – a slight rise of 2.8 % – and represented the seventh-largest category of non-hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste

The largest waste type by volume classified as hazardous was sludge from oil/water separators. This figure increased by 9.5 % to 559 tonnes (previous year: 510 tonnes). This type of waste primarily results from the cleaning of and other large equipment with pressure washers and is the fourth-largest waste category overall. The other emulsions waste category resulting, for example, from removing oil spills, increased by 24.3 % to 515 tonnes (previous year: 414 tonnes).


After energy – and excluding in equipment and machinery – construction materials are the second-largest direct material input at HHLA. Recycled building materials are also used to maintain existing terminal areas and to prepare other areas for different purposes. The volume of recycled building materials used at the Hamburg container decreased year-on-year by 41 % to 21,646 tonnes (previous year: 36,695 tonnes). This decline was due to reduced resurfacing requirements during the reporting period. Slag from waste incineration plants that was bonded with cement accounted for the largest share of recycled building materials used at 54.2 % or 11,740 tonnes (previous year: 4,440 tonnes). This material was used for the expansion of the yard crane system at Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB).

At 31.0 % (6,720 tonnes), the use of asphalt recycling accounted for the second-largest proportion. Of this total, 1,820 tonnes was used for the sustainable resurfacing of Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) and 1,236 tonnes for the surfacing of the new blocks at CTB. With a share of 11.6 % and a material input of 2,510 tonnes, slag from waste incineration plants was also used to construct the storage crane blocks at CTB. A total of 676 tonnes of electric furnace slag was used for the renovation of the area at CTA. The use of recycled building materials minimises the consumption of resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Water consumption

Water consumption

in dam3

Developments in water consumption (bar chart)

HHLA locations: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Hungary

The use of fresh water by the HHLA Group is mainly restricted to the cleaning of large-scale equipment and containers, as well as for employee hygiene and canteen operations. HHLA’s operations in Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Hungary consumed 95,791 m3 of water in 2021 (previous year: 92,727 m3, excluding Italy, Slovenia and Hungary). This consumption, which is low in comparison to pre-pandemic levels, was due to fewer staff being in the office at most sites, as many were still working from home in 2021. 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.


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


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.

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.