Interim Statement January – March 2023

Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–3 | 2023


1–3 | 2022









- 18.8 %







- 50.9 %

EBITDA margin in %






- 11.5 pp







- 84.9 %

EBIT margin in %






- 14.2 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






- 18.6 %

In the first three months of 2023, container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals decreased year-on-year by 18.6 % to 1,416 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 1,740 thousand TEU). At 1,360 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the Hamburg container terminals was down 15.9 % on the same period last year (previous year: 1,618 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 development. Feeder traffic volumes were also down sharply on the previous year. In addition to Swedish and Polish routes, there was also a sharp fall in Russian volumes – in particular as a result of the EU sanctions. The proportion of seaborne handling by feeders decreased moderately year-on-year to 18.1 % (previous year: 21.2 %).

Throughput volume at the international container terminals fell by 53.9 % year-on-year to 56 thousand TEU (previous year: 122 thousand TEU). This was due to the sharp decline in cargo volumes at the Odessa terminal after seaborne handling there was suspended by the authorities at the end of February 2022 following the Russian invasion. There was also an absence of extra calls at the TK Estonia container terminal as an alternative to Russian ports in the first quarter of 2023. An increase in throughput volumes at the multi-function terminal PLT Italy was unable to fully offset this shortfall.

Segment revenue fell by 18.8 % in the reporting period to € 175.8  million (previous year: € 216.4 million). This was mainly due to decreased volumes and shorter dwell times at the Hamburg container terminals, which had led to increased storage fees in the same period last year due to supply chain disruptions. Revenue was also burdened by the transfer of HHLA-Personal-Service GmbH (HPSG) from the pro-forma Holding/Other segment to the Container segment.

EBIT costs fell moderately by 4.8 % in the reporting period. This was mainly due to the significant volume-related decline in personnel expenses and the CTO closure since March last year, as well as the reversal of provisions for ship delays at the Hamburg container terminals. The decrease in energy costs was proportionately less than the decline in volumes. This figure includes extraordinary income from the sale of gas rights as part of the power barge shutdown. Compared to the first quarter of the previous year, EBIT costs at the Trieste terminal also rose significantly due to additional cargo volumes. There was a negative earnings effect from the integration of HHLA-Personal-Service GmbH into the Container segment. 

Against this background, the operating result (EBIT) decreased by 84.9 % to € 5.7 million (previous year: € 37.8 million). The international terminals TK Estonia and PLT Italy both made positive contributions to the operating result. The EBITDA margin fell by 14.2 percentage points to 3.2 % (previous year: 17.4 %).

HHLA has continued to invest in more efficient and climate-friendly container terminals in 2023. At Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA), the procurement of ten more battery-powered tractor units was approved. In addition, funding applications were submitted for the corresponding energy infrastructure. The electrification of the fleet of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) is due to be completed during the first half of 2023. Where necessary, these AGVs are supplied with green electricity completely automatically at a total of 18 charging stations. Following the completion of field tests, work is underway to implement them in regular operations. In addition, first-stage testing has taken place for automated truck handling. A further eight hybrid transport vehicles – which consume significantly less fuel than diesel-powered vehicles – were ordered for Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) and received in early April. Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) continued to drive the expansion and commissioning of additional blocks in the block storage system, thus contributing to efforts to modernise and enhance the efficiency of the terminals.