Half-year Financial Report January – June 2023

Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–6 | 2023


1–6 | 2022









- 19.7 %







- 47.0 %

EBITDA margin in %






- 10.1 pp







- 76.2 %

EBIT margin in %






- 12.9 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






- 14.6 %

In the first half of 2023, container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals decreased year-on-year by 14.6 % to 2,876 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 3,368 thousand TEU).

At 2,763 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the Hamburg container terminals was down 12.7 % on the same period last year (previous year: 3,167 thousand TEU). The main driver of this development was the strong decline in volumes of the Far East shipping region – China in particular. The positive momentum from North American cargo volumes was unable to offset this trend. Feeder traffic volumes were also strongly down on the previous year. In addition to the strong reduction in Swedish and Polish traffic, volumes from Russia were also absent due to the sanctions. The proportion of seaborne handling by feeders decreased strongly year-on-year to 18.4 % (previous year: 20.9 %).

Throughput volume at the international container terminals fell by 43.9 % year-on-year to 113 thousand TEU (previous year: 202 thousand TEU). This was due to the strong decline in cargo volumes at the Odessa terminal (CTO) after seaborne handling there was suspended by the authorities at the end of February 2022 following the Russian invasion. There has also been an absence of extra calls at the TK Estonia container terminal as an alternative to Russian ports in 2023. The strong increase in throughput volumes at the multi-function terminal PLT Italy was unable to fully offset this shortfall.

Segment revenue fell by 19.7 % in the reporting period to € 352.2 million (previous year: € 438.8 million). In addition to the strong decrease in volumes, this was mainly due to shorter dwell times for containers handled at the Hamburg container terminals compared to the previous year and the resulting fall in storage fees. Revenue was also adversely affected by the official suspension of operations at CTO and the transfer of HHLA-Personal-Service GmbH (HPSG) from the pro-forma Holding/Other segment to the Container segment.

There was a significant net decline in operating income and expenses included in the operating result (defined in total as EBIT costs) of 7.1 % in the reporting period. This was mainly due to the significant volume-related decline in personnel expenses, the closure of CTO since March last year and additional other operating income due to the reversal of other liabilities for ship delays at the Hamburg container terminals in 2022. By contrast, there was a strong increase in energy costs. Compared to the first half of the previous year, EBIT costs at the Trieste terminal also rose due to additional cargo volumes. Additional costs were incurred in the reporting period from the integration of HHLA-Personal-Service GmbH into the Container segment.

As a result of the effects described above, the operating result (EBIT) fell by 76.2 % to € 19.1 million (previous year: € 80.2 million). The EBIT margin declined by 12.9 percentage points to 5.4 % (previous year: 18.3 %).

HHLA continued to invest in climate-friendly terminal technology with a view to improving energy efficiency and thus also future cost-effectiveness. The first delivery lot of new container gantry cranes has been ordered for Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA). These new container gantry cranes will enhance the already high level of automation. The electrification of the fleet of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) was completed as planned in the first half of 2023. Where necessary, these AGVs are supplied with green electricity completely automatically at a total of 18 charging stations and their batteries are used as energy storage units. In addition, first-stage testing has been carried out for automated truck handling. Eight hybrid container vehicles were delivered to Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) in early April. These consume significantly less fuel than diesel-powered vehicles. Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) continued to drive the expansion and commissioning of additional automatic blocks, thus supporting efforts to modernise and enhance the efficiency of the terminals.