Annual Report 2022

Container segment

Key figures

in € million













2.6 %







0.2 %

EBITDA margin in %






- 0.8 pp







1.3 %

EBIT margin in %






- 0.2 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






- 7.9 %

In the 2022 reporting year, there was a significant overall year-on-year decline in container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals of 7.9 % to 6,396 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 6,943 thousand TEU).

Container throughput

in thousand TEU

Development in container throughput (bar chart)

At 6,071 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the Hamburg container terminals was down 4.1 % on the same period last year (previous year: 6,328 thousand TEU). This decrease was primarily due to lower cargo volumes in the Far East shipping region, particularly China. The acquisition of two feeder services in the first quarter of 2022 and the increase in cargo attributed to Poland and Scandinavia could not fully offset the collapse in volumes to and from Russia due to the EU’s sanctions against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine. The proportion of seaborne handling by feeders decreased slightly year-on-year to 19.8 % (previous year: 20.4 %).

The international container terminals reported a sharp decline in throughput volume of 47.1 % to 326 thousand TEU (previous year: 615 thousand TEU). This was due to the significant decline in cargo volumes at the Odessa terminal after seaborne handling there was suspended by the authorities at the end of February following the Russian invasion. This was only partly offset by strong volume growth at the TK Estonia container terminal, resulting from the increased use of the terminal as an alternative to the Russian ports, and additional throughput volumes since the first container ship was handled in December 2021 by PLT Italy.

Despite significantly lower volumes, segment revenue increased slightly by 2.6 % year-on-year to € 864.2 million (previous year: € 841.9 million). The principal reason for this was the strong temporary rise in storage fees at the container terminals in Hamburg, Tallinn and Trieste. The increase in storage fees was due to longer dwell times caused by disruptions to the supply chain.

EBIT costs increased by 3.2 % year-on-year during the reporting period. The additional expenses resulted from the strong rise in the cost of materials as a result of higher electricity consumption and rising fuel costs, as well as from additional personnel expenses linked to the very high storage load and the collective wage increases agreed in the third quarter of 2022. Expenses associated with services and consulting, as well as expenses for external maintenance services, also rose. EBIT costs for the terminal in Trieste also rose significantly year-on-year as a result of the comprehensive start-up of business operations. By contrast, there was an opposing effect from lower volumes and in particular the suspension of seaborne handling at the terminal in Odessa.

Against the backdrop of an increase in average revenue due to the spike in storage fees, the operating result (EBIT) rose by 1.3 % to € 157.3 million (previous year: € 155.3 million). Furthermore, the international terminals of TK Estonia and PLT Italy helped to offset the suspension of operations at the Container Terminal Odessa (CTO) to some extent. The EBITDA margin fell slightly (by 0.2 percentage points) to 18.2 % (previous year: 18.4 %).

HHLA continued to invest in climate-friendly handling equipment and container terminals in 2022. Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) ordered additional battery-powered tractor units, bringing the total number in operation to nine, and applied for funding for a further ten battery-powered tractor units along with the corresponding energy infrastructure. The electrification of the fleet of automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) is due to be completed during the first half of 2023. These AGVs are supplied with electricity completely automatically at a total of 18 charging stations. A further eight hybrid transport vehicles, which consume significantly less fuel than diesel-powered vehicles, were ordered for the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT). The expansion of the coal shipping port to create additional storage space was concluded in the third quarter. It has since been in use as a yard and a hydrogen fuel station is to be built on part of the site in future. Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) continued to drive the expansion of the block storage system, thus contributing to efforts to modernise and enhance the efficiency of the terminals.

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.
Earnings before interest and taxes.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.
Feeder/Feeder ship
Vessels which carry smaller numbers of containers to ports. From Hamburg, feeders are primarily used to transport boxes to the Baltic region.
Revenue from sales or lettings and from services rendered, less sales deductions and VAT.
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.
In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.

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