Annual Report 2023


Audit with limited assurance

In order to effectively mitigate climate change, HHLA focuses on lowering its absolute CO2e 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 CO2e emissions on the other.

CO2 equivalents (CO2e) have been reported since the 2022 financial year, so that in addition to the climate impact of pure CO2 emissions, the climate impact of other greenhouse gases (such as N2O) is also taken into account in the survey of CO2 equivalents. These values are almost comparable. It was decided not to adjust the greenhouse gas balance retroactively for the years 2018 to 2021.

HHLA calculates its CO2e emissions on the basis of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard (Revised Edition), an international standard for recording greenhouse gas emissions. The calculation takes into account tank-to-wheel emissions for the fuels and market-based emission factors. The emission factors for fossil fuels are taken from the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) Framework 2.0. In order to make it easier to compare data with the published data from previous years, it was decided not to switch to the GLEC Framework 3.0 standard in the reporting year. In accordance with the reporting obligation under the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), this switch will be made in the 2024 financial year. The emission factors for electricity, for which no market-based emission factors are available, were published by the IEA (International Energy Agency).

The greenhouse gases emitted by the HHLA Group mainly relate to CO2. They are primarily influenced by throughput volumes at the port and inland terminals, 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 locally emission-free in the calculation of specific emissions. For the calculation of absolute emissions, the CO2e 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 CO2e 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 GLEC Framework 2.0.

Absolute CO2e emissions

in tonnes, base year 2018

Absolute CO2 emissions (bar chart)
2018: CO2 emissions, from 2022: CO2e emissions

The outstanding importance of reduced absolute CO2e emissions is expressed by HHLA’s climate protection target: to reduce absolute CO2e emissions by at least 50 % by 2030 and to become fully climate-neutral by 2040 (in relation to Scope 1 and Scope 2). The base year is 2018. In a comparison between the base year and the reporting year, absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2e emissions decreased by 38.1 % to 105,453 tonnes (2018: 170,346 tonnes). Compared to the previous year (118,241 tonnes), this figure represents a decrease of 10.8 %.

In the reporting year, the use of electricity from renewable energy sources led to a reduction in CO2e emissions of 107,071 tonnes.

The level of CO2e emissions was influenced in particular by three developments in 2023:

  • The continuing electrification at Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA).
  • The substantial normalisation of supply chains, which led to reduced utilisation of storage capacities at the container terminals and therefore to lower specific consumption.
  • The decline in container throughput at the Hamburg container terminals.

The share of electricity in the Group’s overall energy consumption rose from 58.6 % in the previous year to 63.9 % in the reporting year. This represents a new record high within the HHLA Group and, above all, reflects the Group’s electrification measures. The proportion of renewables in HHLA’s overall power consumption increased to 58.8 % in the reporting period (previous year: 53.4 %). In the reporting period, the proportion of renewables in overall energy consumption stood at 37.5 %. While 190.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity was procured from renewable energy sources in 2022, this volume increased by 8.9 % to 207.4 GWh in the reporting year. Traction-related CO2e emissions due to the use of electric locomotives decreased by 2.4 % to 32,426 tonnes during the reporting year (previous year: 33,239 tonnes).

Direct and indirect CO2e emissions

in thousand tonnes, base year 2018

Direct and indirect CO2 emissions (bar chart)
Until 2021: CO2 emissions, from 2022: CO2 e emissions

Electricity from renewables was used in the following areas in the reporting year:

  • for electric rail transport conducted by METRANS companies in Germany and Austria,
  • for all office buildings and workshops in Hamburg occupied by HHLA, for CTA, for the all-electric yard crane system at CTB, for the rail gantry cranes at the container terminals CTB and CTT and for iSAM AG in Mülheim.
  • The majority of the electricity generated by the photovoltaic system installed at the HHLA terminal TK Estonia was used by the terminal itself.

Trends in specific CO2e emissions

Specific CO2e emissions compared with 2008 in %

Trends in specific CO2 emissions (bar chart)
Until 2021: CO2 emissions, from 2022: CO2 e emissions

The absolute CO2e emissions of the four pure container terminals operated by HHLA – namely CTA, CTB, CTT and CTO – fell by 10,456 tonnes to 39,802 tonnes compared with the previous year. Compared with the base year 2008, specific CO2e emissions fell by 50.5 %. Activities organised and carried out at HHLA terminals by third parties that resulted in CO2e 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. Remuneration report and remuneration system

Certified climate neutrality

CTA in Hamburg is the world’s first certified climate-neutral container handling facility. It is largely electrified, using power from renewable energy sources. Terminal processes that still produce CO2e emissions are being gradually electrified or the transition to electricity is being field-tested. During the reporting year, the CO2e 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. This takes into account emissions from stationary combustion (natural gas) and mobile combustion (diesel), from imported electricity (market-based approach), from the upstream supply chains of all energy sources used and from employee commuting. All unavoidable CO2e emissions resulting from container throughput (including the calculated Scope 3 emissions), amounting to 7,409 tonnes (previous year: 11,836 tonnes), were offset via Gold Standard compensation projects.

CO2e emissions for transporting a standard container to and from Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Wilhelmshaven, Duisburg, Rotterdam, Gdansk, Trieste, Rijeka 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 in accordance with TÜV Nord standard TN-CC-020. It takes into account emissions from stationary and mobile combustion, like natural gas or diesel, as well as from imported electricity. In accordance with this standard, emissions were reduced as much as possible. All CO2e emissions classified as unavoidable in the reporting year (totalling 51,344 tonnes; previous year: 49,457 tonnes) were offset via Gold Standard climate protection compensation projects. During the reporting year, a total of 940,466 standard containers (TEU) were transported on a climate-neutral basis with HHLA Pure (previous year: 917,152 TEU).

Measures to reduce CO2e emissions

The existing programme to boost energy efficiency and lower CO2e emissions within individual HHLA companies was continued during the reporting year with a variety of measures. These include fitting and retrofitting equipment with more energy-efficient technologies such as adding another eleven units to the fleet of battery-operated automated guided vehicles (AGVs), the commissioning of eight further hybrid straddle carriers (hybrid van carriers) at CTT and the expansion of the electrified warehouse crane system at CTB.

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.
CO2e (CO2 equivalent – carbon dioxide equivalent)
CO2e equivalent (CO2e) is a unit of measurement for the climate impact of various greenhouse gases. In addition to the dominant greenhouse gas CO2, CO2e includes other gases with a climate impact such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The CO2 and CO2e values are characterised by the energy HHLA's energy sources are almost comparable.
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.
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.
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.
The action of a locomotive pulling a train.

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