Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–9 | 2020


1–9 | 2019









- 9.4 %







- 25.3 %

EBITDA margin in %






- 5.3 pp







- 39.0 %

EBIT margin in %






- 6.1 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






- 11.2 %

During the first nine months of 2020, the throughput volume at HHLA’s container terminals decreased by 11.2 % to 5,086 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 5,730 thousand TEU).

At 4,654 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the three Hamburg container terminals, was down 11.8 % on the same period last year (previous year: 5,275 thousand TEU). This was mainly due to the loss of a Far East service and blank sailings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Feeder traffic with the Baltic region also decreased 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 2.6 percentage points to 20.1 % (previous year: 22.7 %).

The international container terminals in Odessa and Tallinn recorded a moderate decrease in throughput volume of 5.0 % to 432 thousand TEU (previous year: 454 thousand TEU). The decreases in volume due to the coronavirus pandemic could not be offset by the additional traffic in the first quarter.

Revenue decreased year-on-year by 9.4 % to € 548.4 million in the first three quarters of 2020 (previous year: € 605.5 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 2.0 % 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 2.7 % year-on-year during the reporting period. Lower material and personnel expenses, partly caused by the reductions in volume, were offset by increased service and maintenance costs. The personnel savings resulted from reduced staffing requirements due to lower volumes.

As a result of falling volumes, the operating result (EBIT) declined by € 43.9 million, or 39.0 %, year-on-year to € 68.7 million (previous year: € 112.6 million). The EBIT margin decreased by 6.1 percentage points to 12.5 %.

HHLA continued to pursue its long-term modernisation and expansion programme in the first three quarters of 2020 in order to further boost capacity and productivity at its terminals. In the first nine months of 2020, HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) put three new large container gantry cranes into operation. The expansion of the block storage system also progressed in line with schedule. The other HHLA terminals in Germany and abroad made similar investments 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) stepped up its switch to battery-powered vehicles for operations at the terminal.