Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–6 | 2020


1–6 | 2019









- 9.6 %







- 30.1 %

EBITDA margin in %






- 6.8 pp







- 48.7 %

EBIT margin in %






- 7.8 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






- 11.3 %

During the first six months of 2020, the throughput volume at HHLA’s container terminals decreased by 11.3 % to 3,345 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 3,770 thousand TEU).

At 3,058 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the three Hamburg container terminals, was down 12.0 % on the same period last year (previous year: 3,476 thousand TEU). This was mainly due to blank sailings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These blank sailings led to a significant decline in cargo volumes from the Far East. Feeder traffic with the Baltic region decreased markedly and could not be offset by growth in the German and British shipping regions. There was a corresponding decline in the proportion of seaborne handling by feeders of 2.3 percentage points to 20.6 % (previous year: 22.9 %).

The international container terminals in Odessa and Tallinn recorded a slight decrease in throughput volume of 2.4 % to 286 thousand TEU (previous year: 293 thousand TEU). The decreases in volume primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic could not be offset by the additional traffic in the first quarter.

Revenue decreased year-on-year by 9.6 % to € 363.4 million in the first half of 2020 (previous year: € 401.7 million). This was primarily due to the decreases in volume caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Average revenue per container handled at the quayside rose by 1.9 % year-on-year. This resulted from an advantageous modal split with a high proportion of hinterland volumes and a temporary increase in storage fees due to longer dwell times brought about by weather-related delays and blank sailings caused by the pandemic.

EBIT costs decreased by 1.0 % year-on-year during the reporting period. Lower material and personnel expenses, partly caused by the reductions in volume, were offset by increased maintenance and service costs. The personnel savings resulted mainly from using less external staff due to the decrease in volumes.

As a result of falling volumes, the operating result (EBIT) declined by € 35.0 million, or 48.7 %, year-on-year to € 36.8 million (previous year: € 71.8 million). The EBIT margin decreased by 7.8 percentage points to 10.1 %.

HHLA continued to pursue its long-term modernisation and expansion programme in the first half of 2020 in order to further boost capacity and productivity at its terminals. HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) put an additional large container gantry crane into operation, with two more arriving in early May. The terminal also made progress with the expansion of its block storage system. The other HHLA terminals in Germany and abroad also invested in site expansion and new equipment in order to push ahead with the automation of their handling processes. Moreover, HHLA made further progress with the implementation of its sustainability strategy. For example, the Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) continued its switch to battery-powered vehicles for operations at the terminal.