Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–6 | 2021


1–6 | 2020









11.4 %







35.0 %

EBITDA margin in %






4.9 pp







72.1 %

EBIT margin in %






5.5 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






0.7 %

In the first half of 2021, container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals increased slightly year-on-year by 0.7 % to 3,369 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 3,345 thousand TEU).

At 3,073 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the three Hamburg container terminals was up 0.5 % on the same period last year (previous year: 3,058 thousand TEU). This was in particular due to the moderate increase in cargo volumes for Far East services, which more than offset the pandemic-related volume shortfalls in the previous year and the loss of a Far East service in May 2020. There was a moderate decline in feeder traffic, particularly in the Baltic region. The proportion of seaborne handling by feeders was down by 0.8 percentage points to 19.8 % (previous year: 20.6 %).

Throughput volumes at the international container terminals in Odessa and Tallinn rose moderately by 3.4 % to 296 thousand TEU (previous year: 286 thousand TEU). Only RoRo ships – and no container ships to date – were processed at the Trieste container terminal during the first six months of 2021.

Revenue increased strongly year-on-year by 11.4 % to € 404.9 million in the first half of 2021 (previous year: € 363.4 million). The slight increase in volume of 0.7 % was strongly exceeded by the increase in revenue quality. Average revenue per container handled at the quayside rose strongly by 10.6 % year-on-year. This was due to an advantageous modal split with a high proportion of hinterland volumes and a temporary increase in storage fees due to ongoing ship delays. In addition to the pandemic-related delays in ship departures, the blocking of the Suez Canal in March also led to longer dwell times that boosted storage revenue. Furthermore, the revenue from Trieste was recognised for the first time.

EBIT costs increased moderately by 4.6 % year-on-year during the reporting period. Additional expenses compared with the previous year were primarily attributable to the higher storage load, resulting in an increased use of personnel and materials. Further burdens included additional provisions for the announced restructuring measures currently being implemented, increases in union wage rates and costs relating to the launch of container terminal operations in Trieste.

Against the backdrop of a temporary increase in average revenue caused by the spike in storage fees and the pandemic-related low comparative base of the previous year, the operating result (EBIT) rose by 72.1 % to € 63.4 million (previous year: € 36.8 million). The EBIT margin increased by 5.5 percentage points to the more normal level of 15.6 %.

In the first half of 2021, HHLA continued to invest in climate-friendly handling equipment. For example, HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) took delivery of eight new hybrid transport vehicles and HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) took delivery of ten. These vehicles consume considerably less fuel than diesel-powered equipment. With the expansion and partial retrofit of its existing block storage system, CTB also contributed to the ongoing efforts to modernise and enhance the efficiency of our terminals. At the Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA), the fleet was expanded with the addition of ten further lower-emission, battery-powered automated guided vehicles (AGVs). The HHLA container terminals abroad also invested in site expansion and more energy-efficient equipment. For example, the container terminal in Tallinn acquired two container gantry cranes from CTB.