Annual Report 2023

Corporate and sustainability strategy

HHLA is a European port and logistics group. It connects port terminals with intermodal hinterland networks to create climate-friendly logistics chains, thus firmly embedding sustainability within its business model.

With its Balanced Logistics sustainability strategy, HHLA is highlighting its commitment to reconciling ecological, social and economic responsibility. As a result, it is paving the way for sustainable growth of its enterprise value.

Transformation process

The further development of the logistics sector represents a key value for HHLA. Since 2017, efficient cost structures, an ambitious sustainability and technology strategy and the tapping of new growth drivers beyond the company’s existing core business have been the cornerstones for securing and expanding HHLA’s enterprise value.

HHLA draws on its creative power to focus on the development of additional values. In this way, it aims to strengthen customer loyalty and its customer base. The four main guiding principles of corporate development which help us achieve these aims remain:

Fit for the world of tomorrow

Our core business is being strengthened to be able to enter the world of tomorrow sustainably and profitably. A corresponding programme for the future is being implemented. This programme aims to enhance competitiveness, quality and profitability.

Investments and finance

The company will continue to gear its investments and operating results towards sustainable, profitable growth. HHLA applies a value-oriented approach to its strategic investments. The most important investment criteria are the growth prospects and anticipated return on capital of the investment projects.

Exploiting additional growth areas

HHLA is tapping growth potential along the transport streams of the future, along the logistics value chain and in new, digital business models.

Organisation and corporate culture

The company's organisational structure and corporate culture are being aligned with tomorrow’s world. The client is being placed more than ever at the centre of activity.

Corporate strategy (graphic)

At the same time, HHLA’s market environment is changing at an ever-greater pace. HHLA aims to harness this change quickly and successfully, with determination and focus. With this in mind, HHLA is fine-tuning its creative ambitions:

  • We help to shape changes in the logistics sector.
  • We invest in sustainable and innovative technologies in order to increase our enterprise value.
  • We pursue targeted diversification along the logistics chain in order to offset significant changes in our core business, supplement our product portfolio and drive growth.

Strengthening the container terminals at the Port of Hamburg is a key pillar of our strategy to safeguard the HHLA Group’s value. This goes hand in hand with the targeted expansion of our highly profitable intermodal business.

The Executive Board of HHLA will continue the ongoing transformation process.

Expansion and consolidation of market position

In the listed Port Logistics subgroup, activities to cement and expand the current market position are governed by the following guidelines:

In the Container segment, HHLA aims to be an efficient, highly automated and high-performance port service provider with a strong hinterland network and cutting-edge, digital customer solutions. In order to achieve this, the design and operation of HHLA’s container terminals are systematically geared to maximum productivity of space and manpower efficiency. At the same time, innovative technologies and processes are used to achieve continuous improvements in quality standards. In doing so, the terminals are being developed into efficient interfaces within a sustainable and emission-free transport chain.

In the Intermodal segment, HHLA strives to be a quality and efficiency leader and aims to leverage this leading position in order to profit from the transport flows of the future. METRANS will play an important role along the hubs and connecting lines of the logistics network, both in Europe and beyond. Due to efficient networking between the Intermodal segment and the other activities of the HHLA Group, HHLA is able to offer its customers a perfectly coordinated range of services characterised by efficient intermodal transport from its seaport terminals to transshipment in the European hinterland and vice versa. Furthermore, HHLA offers its customers continental transport between European destinations. By further expanding its European network, gaining market shares in Europe and offering climate-friendly services, HHLA is pursuing the goal of increasing both the scope of its services and reach for its customers. In addition, HHLA focuses on increasing its vertical integration.

In its Logistics segment, HHLA pools a wide range of port-related services. HHLA also markets its expertise in infrastructure and project development internationally. In addition, new and innovative business activities along the material and digital logistics value chain are being pursued and promoted. In response to rapid developments in the global transport and logistics sector, HHLA Next GmbH was founded in 2021 to serve as HHLA’s central innovation unit and to pool its innovative and sustainable business activities. Innovation

In addition to purely organic growth, HHLA constantly explores opportunities for further acquisitions with a view to opening up new growth areas along the logistics value chain.

In its non-listed Real Estate subgroup, HHLA pursues the objective of developing into an integrated, market-viable developer of specialist properties. The corporate unit HHLA Real Estate aims to be Hamburg’s flagship provider of intelligent district management and development on the basis of this clear strategic alignment and reliable prioritisation. As such, HHLA is becoming a much sought-after specialist in its clearly defined areas of expertise.

The HHLA service network

HHLA connects its customers with maritime and continental transport flows

The HHLA service network (graphic)

Sustainability as an integral part of the corporate strategy

In addition to the continued development of our core business and the development of new growth fields, sustainability is an integral component of HHLA’s business model.

HHLA has therefore developed a sustainability strategy with nine areas for action under the heading “Balanced Logistics”. These nine areas for action cover all aspects of sustainability and their practical application for HHLA. Responsible corporate governance forms the basis for implementing the strategy – the main focus of which is on climate-friendly logistics chains, land optimisation, climate protection and energy efficiency.

With its activities in these nine areas for action, HHLA is helping to support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. These 17 goals were formulated by the UN to foster sustainable global development and shape economic development so that it takes account of social justice and the earth’s environmental conditions. As part of its sustainability strategy, HHLA supports all the goals, of which high-quality education (SDG 4), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) and climate protection measures (SDG 13) correspond in particular to HHLA's activities.

Balanced Logistics sustainability strategy

Field of activity




Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Climate-friendly logistic chains


We create climate- and environmentally friendly logistics chains.


Area optimisation


We use the port and logistics chains as efficiently as possible.


Climate protection and energy efficiency


We reduce our CO2 emissions through energy efficiency and innovation.


Environmental and resource protection


We reduce our environmental impact and conserve natural resources.


Working world


We invest in vocational education and training with tailored staff development programmes.


Occupational health and safety


We ensure safe and fair working conditions and promote health-conscious behaviour.


social engagement


We engage in dialogue with society to discuss and provide information on topics related to port logistics.


Added value and innovation


We make an ongoing and significant contribution to added value and thus raise prosperity at all locations.


Business partner


We offer tailor-made solutions and work responsibly with our suppliers.




A company can only achieve sustainable success if it behaves in a responsible and legally compliant manner. Compliance, data privacy, respecting human rights, and combating corruption and bribery are seen as the fundamental requirements for sustainable corporate governance. Business ethics and integrity

A port’s catchment area.
Intermodal/Intermodal systems
Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.
In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.

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