HHLA suffers heavy losses in container handling

Bride with flaws: In the midst of the ongoing takeover by MSC, Hamburg terminal operator HHLA presents a sobering interim balance sheet.

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG(HHLA) recorded significant losses in throughput, revenue and earnings in the first nine months of the year. The ongoing war in Ukraine, geopolitical tensions, inflation and rising interest rates have further slowed the global economic recovery following the pandemic, according to the company. [ds_preview]

HHLA’s container throughput at the terminals fell by 8.5% to 4.45 million TEU (previous year: 4.87 million TEU). Only the balance at the ports of Bremen is currently worse. At the three Hamburg terminals, the decline was slightly lower at 6.9%, with 4.28 million TEU (previous year: 4.6 million TEU) passing over the quayside. Lower volumes from/to China were the main reason for the decline.

HHLA’s feeder ratio continues to fall

However, volumes in the feeder segment were also significantly lower than in the previous year. In addition to the loss of business in Russia due to sanctions, there were also losses in traffic to/from Sweden and Poland. The feeder ratio fell from 20.5% to 18.4%.

Overall, turnover at the listed Port Logistics subgroup fell by 7.4% to just over € 1 billion (previous year: € 1.14 billion). The operating result (EBIT) even fell by 57.4% to € 61.8 million. Earnings after taxes and minority interests amounted to just € 3.1 million (previous year: € 61.3 million).

HHLA’s Intermodal business also weakens

However, the previously successful Intermodal subsidiary Metrans also lost momentum. Container transport fell by -3.4% to 1.2 million TEU. Rail transport fell by -1.6% to 1 million TEU compared to the previous year. According to HHLA, all major routes were affected by the decline, but Polish traffic in particular. Road transportation fell by 12.4% to 185,000 TEU (previous year: 211,000 TEU).

Offshore, Bund, Seehäfen, Häfen, ZDS, Titzrath
Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board and President of the Central Association of German Seaport Operators (ZDS) (© HHLA)

Revenue for the HHLA Group as a whole fell by 7.1% to € 1 billion (previous year: € 1.17 billion). The Group operating result (EBIT) decreased by 52.8% to € 75.6 million compared to € 160 million in the previous year. The EBIT margin amounted to 6.9% (previous year: 13.7%). Earnings after taxes and minority interests amounted to €11.9 million (previous year: €69.8 million).

The outlook is not exactly positive. A significant decline in container throughput compared to the previous year is still expected. This will also have a negative impact on the expected turnover. The operating result (EBIT) is likely to be at the lower end of the range of € 100 million to € 120 million.

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