Container segment

Key figures

in € million


1–9 | 2022


1–9 | 2021









5.4 %







7.5 %

EBITDA margin in %






0.6 pp







12.8 %

EBIT margin in %






1.2 pp

Container throughput in thousand TEU






- 5.7 %

During the first nine months of 2022, container throughput at HHLA’s container terminals decreased by 5.7 % to 4,869 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 5,165 thousand TEU).

At 4,605 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the Hamburg container terminals was down 2.3 % on the same period last year (previous year: 4,712 thousand TEU).

This was mainly driven by limited handling capacity due to the high utilisation of storage capacity owing to the marked rise in dwell times for import and export containers at the Port of Hamburg. On the other hand, container throughput was also impacted by reduced cargo volumes from the North America and, above all, Far East shipping regions – with the exception of China.

In terms of feeder traffic, the collapse in volumes to and from Russia since March 2022 and a decrease in volumes to and from the UK was offset by the acquisition of two new feeder services and a significant rise in volumes to and from Poland and Scandinavia. In total, the proportion of seaborne handling accounted for by feeders grew slightly year-on-year to 20.5 % (previous year: 20.0 %).

The international container terminals reported a strong decline in throughput volume of 41.7 % to 264 thousand TEU (previous year: 453 thousand TEU). This was due to the significant decline in cargo volumes at the terminal in Odessa after seaborne handling there was suspended by the authorities at the end of February following the Russian invasion. This could only be partly offset by strong increases in volumes at the TK Estonia container terminal, resulting from the increased use of the terminal as an alternative to the Russian ports, and additional throughput volumes since the first container ship was handled last December by PLT Italy.

Despite the drop in volumes, segment revenue rose significantly year-on-year by 5.4 % to € 653.2 million (previous year: € 620.0 million). The principal reason for this was the strong rise in storage fees at the container terminals in Hamburg, Tallinn and Trieste. The increase in storage fees was due to longer dwell times caused by disruptions to the supply chain. Furthermore, additional revenue from RoRo and break bulk handling at PLT Italy had a positive effect.

EBIT costs increased by 3.8 % year-on-year during the reporting period. The additional expenses resulted on the one hand from a much higher cost of materials as a result of higher electricity consumption and rising fuel costs, as well as from extra personnel expenses owing to the very high storage load and the collective wage increases agreed in the third quarter of 2022. Expenses associated with services and consulting also rose strongly. EBIT costs for the terminal in Trieste also rose considerably as a result of the comprehensive start-up of business operations as compared with the same period of the previous year. Lower maintenance costs and volumes owing to capacity utilisation had an opposing effect.

Against the backdrop of a temporary increase in average revenue caused by the spike in storage fees, the operating result (EBIT) increased by 12.8 % to € 121.7 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 107.9 million). The international terminals TK Estonia and PLT Italy also contributed to this positive development of the operating result. The EBIT margin rose by 1.2 percentage points to 18.6 % (previous year: 17.4 %).

HHLA continued to invest in climate-friendly handling equipment and container terminals in 2022. Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) finished setting up the electric charging station infrastructure at the quayside by acquiring four more fully automated electric charging stations for AGVs. The fleet is now powered by green electricity from 18 electric charging points. A field test also investigated the potential for the AGVs’ power stores to contribute to grid stability. In line with the strategy to fully electrify terminal operations, seven additional battery-powered tractor units have been ordered. The technology used by the OCR (optical character recognition) gates in the entrance to the terminal that digitally record containers arriving by truck was also updated. The new technology provides better data quality and helps to save energy. A further eight hybrid transport vehicles were ordered for the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT). These consume significantly less fuel than diesel-powered vehicles. The coal shipping port was converted to create additional yards during the third quarter and the additional storage space went into operation. A hydrogen fuel station will be built on part of the site in future. The Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) continued to drive the expansion of the block storage system and the development of the AGV area, thus also contributing to ongoing efforts to modernise and enhance the future efficiency of the terminals.