Annual Report 2023

Use of resources and circular economy

Not audited


HHLA’s efforts to conserve resources are demonstrated by its waste management system and the use of recycled building materials for the maintenance of its terminal 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.

The total amount of waste produced at the German sites decreased by 1.1 % to 8,543 tonnes in the reporting period (previous year: 8,635 tonnes). HHLA distinguishes between non-hazardous and hazardous waste. The decrease in 2023 was mainly due to a lower volume of hazardous waste.

Non-hazardous waste

Fruit waste, which accounts for the largest percentage of waste at 44.8 %, increased by 13.6 % to 3,827 tonnes in the 2023 financial year (previous year: 3,369 tonnes). 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 it relates to imports that are already unfit for sale when they arrive in Hamburg and have to be disposed of. Most of this waste, 2,561 tonnes (previous year: 2,804 tonnes), was used by an external biogas plant in order to generate electricity. In the reporting period, 491,269 kWh of electricity were produced without CO2 in this way.

Mixed metals were the second-largest type of waste by volume in 2023. Their volume rose by 13.2 % to 831 tonnes (previous year: 734 tonnes). This includes items such as steel cables from container gantry cranes or yard cranes that are no longer fit for use. This type of waste is fully recycled. The third-largest waste type by volume was sludge from oil/water separators, which is classified as hazardous waste.

Waste volume

in thousand tonnes

Development in the volume of waste (line chart)

As the fourth-largest type of waste, packaging made from paper, cardboard and mixed paper decreased in the reporting year by 14.8 % to 449 tonnes (previous year: 527 tonnes). Commercial waste for pretreatment and mixed packaging was the fifth-largest type of waste. In 2023, the volumes fell by 16.8 % to 416 tonnes (previous year: 500 tonnes). The sixth-largest type of waste overall was sludge from the in-house waste water treatment system, whose volume rose by 14.4 % to 299 tonnes in the reporting year.

Hazardous waste

The largest waste type by volume classified as hazardous was sludge from oil/water separators. This figure decreased by 19.1 % to 450 tonnes (previous year: 557 tonnes). This type of waste primarily results from the cleaning of straddle carriers (van carriers) and other large equipment with pressure washers and is the third-largest waste category overall. The other emulsions waste category resulting, for example, from removing oil spills, decreased by 24.2 % to 278 tonnes (previous year: 367 tonnes). This type of waste represents the seventh-largest waste category overall.


After energy – and excluding investments in equipment and machinery – construction materials are the largest direct material input at HHLA. Recycled building materials are also used to maintain existing terminal areas and to improve other existing areas. This minimises the consumption of resources and simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The volume of recycled building materials used rose year-on-year by 31.2 % to 49,259 tonnes (previous year: 37,547 tonnes). This increase is attributable to the preparation of the AGV areas and the expansion of the storage blocks at CTB. This work involved the use of 23,720 tonnes of slag from waste incineration (previous year: 2,816 tonnes). This equates to 48.2 % of all recycled building materials used.

At 26.3 %, or 12,949 tonnes, the use of asphalt recycling accounted for the second-largest proportion of recycled building materials used. This was used, among other things, for the preparation of the AGV areas and the expansion of the storage blocks at CTB. With a share of 18.7 % and a material input of 9,230 tonnes, slag bonded with cement was used for the expansion of the storage crane blocks. Moreover, a total of 3,360 tonnes of electric furnace slag were used for renovation of the quay road at CTB.

The use of retreaded tyres for container handling equipment and container chassis, or the on-site cleaning and reuse of used oils, also improves the utilisation of resources. These methods are utilised in various areas.

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

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