Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–9 | 2021


1–9 | 2020









13.1 %







31.5 %

EBITDA margin in %






4.1 pp







57.2 %

EBIT margin in %






4.9 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






1.6 %

In the first nine months of 2021, container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals increased slightly year-on-year by 1.6 % to 5,165 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 5,086 thousand TEU). The pandemic-related volume shortfalls in the previous year and the loss of a Far East service in May 2020 were more than offset.

At 4,712 thousand TEU, throughput volume at HHLA’s three Hamburg container terminals was up 1.3 % on the same period last year (previous year: 4,654 thousand TEU). The positive development of cargo volumes was largely due to the Far East as well as North and South America shipping regions. Following a moderate decline in volumes in the first half of the year, the acquisition of an additional feeder service for the Baltic region in the third quarter led to a slight year-on-year increase in feeder traffic in the reporting period. At 20.0 %, the proportion of seaborne handling by feeders was on a par with the previous year.

Throughput volumes at the international container terminals in Odessa and Tallinn rose moderately by 4.8 % to 453 thousand TEU (previous year: 432 thousand TEU), thereby returning to the pre-pandemic level of 2019. Only RoRo ships – and no container ships – were processed at the Trieste container terminal during the first nine months of 2021.

Segment revenue increased strongly year-on-year by 13.1 % to € 620.0 million in the first three quarters of 2021 (previous year: € 548.4 million). The slight increase in volume of 1.6 % was easily exceeded by the increase in average revenue. Revenue per container handled at the quayside rose by 12.0 % year-on-year. This was due to a temporary spike in storage fees as a result of 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 the Trieste container terminal was recognised for the first time.

EBIT costs increased significantly by 6.7 % year-on-year during the reporting period. The additional expenses compared with the previous year were primarily attributable to the higher storage load, resulting in an increased use of both personnel and materials. Further burdens included additional provisions for the restructuring measures currently being implemented, increases in union wage rates and start-up 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, and in spite of the above mentioned increase in expenses, the operating result (EBIT) rose by 57.2 % to € 107.9 million (previous year: € 68.7 million). The EBIT margin increased by 4.9 percentage points to a good level of 17.4 %.

In the first nine months 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 eleven further lower-emission, battery-powered automated guided vehicles (AGVs). An additional eleven have been ordered and will be delivered in 2023. On their arrival, the conversion to battery-powered AGVs will have been completed. Furthermore, the first battery-powered tractors were put into operation. 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.