Interim Statement January – March 2024

Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–3 | 2024


1–3 | 2023









5.4 %







14.0 %

EBITDA margin in %






1.5 pp







87.3 %

EBIT margin in %






2.6 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






3.3 %

Compared to the very weak prior-year figure, container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals rose by 3.3 % to 1,464 thousand standard containers (TEU) in the first quarter of 2024 (previous year: 1,416 thousand TEU).

At 1,400 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the Hamburg container terminals was up 2.9 % on the same period last year (previous year: 1,360 thousand TEU). The main driver of this positive trend was the rise in volume for the South, Central and North America shipping regions. There was particularly strong growth in cargo volumes for the United States. The throughput volume for the Far East shipping region continued to decline. Although the development of feeder traffic volumes remained weak, there was significant year-on-year growth. In addition to stronger Swedish and Polish traffic, there was a particularly sharp rise in container throughput from Lithuania. By contrast, the trend in Finnish and Latvian volumes was negative. The total proportion of seaborne handling by feeders amounted to 18.8 % (previous year: 18.1 %).

The international container terminals reported a rise in throughput volume of 12.7 % to 63 thousand TEU (previous year: 56 thousand TEU), driven by strong growth at the multifunctional terminal HHLA TK Estonia. This more than offset the fall in throughput volume at HHLA PLT Italy in Trieste caused by ships being rerouted or cancelled as a consequence of the military conflict in the Red Sea region. The absence of volumes at Container Terminal Odessa (CTO) continued – seaborne handling at the terminal has been suspended by the authorities since late February 2022 as a result of the Russian invasion.

Segment revenue rose by 5.4 % to € 185.3 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 175.8 million). In addition to the increase in volumes, this was also due to longer dwell times for containers being handled at the Hamburg terminals and the resulting rise in storage fees. This positive trend was additionally aided by increased revenue of HHLA-Personal-Service GmbH (HPSG), which was transferred to the Container segment in the 2023 financial year.

There was a net increase in operating income and expenses included in the operating result (defined in total as EBIT costs) of 2.7 % in the reporting period. This was primarily attributable to a volume-related rise in personnel expenses, a decrease in other operating income and a strong volume-related increase in energy costs. In the previous year, repayments were received from insurance aggregates, while liabilities for impending claims in connection with ship delays at the Hamburg container terminals in 2022 were reversed. Cost increases in the first quarter were largely offset by declining expenses for external maintenance services as well as for consulting, services and insurance. The main drivers of this trend were the measures to safeguard earnings at the Hamburg container terminals implemented in March of the previous year, as well as further transformation processes. There was a year-on-year increase in EBIT costs at the Trieste terminal.

Against this backdrop, the operating result (EBIT) rose by 87.3 % to € 10.7 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 5.7 million). The EBIT margin improved by 2.6 percentage points to 5.8 % (previous year: 3.2 %).

HHLA continues to invest in climate-friendly and further state-of-the-art terminal technology in the current financial year with a view to improving energy efficiency and thus also future cost-effectiveness. The completion of the first delivery lot of new container gantry cranes continued at Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in the first quarter. The new container gantry cranes will enhance the already high level of automation. The first of a total of 19 tractor units ordered was already delivered in the reporting period. An order has also been placed for a highly automated rail gantry crane. Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) continued to drive the expansion and commissioning of additional automatic blocks, thus also supporting efforts to modernise and enhance the efficiency of the terminals.