In the face of continued geopolitical concerns, European Union economic sanctions, and weaker economic development, the beginning of 2023 was a challenging era for the German port and terminal operator Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA).
Throughput volume at HHLA’s container ports and terminals declined overall by 18.6% in the first quarter of the year to 1,416,000 TEUs. The box throughput at Hamburg container ports and terminals of HHLA was down 15.9% year-on-year at 1,360,000 TEUs. The major driver of this trend was a significant drop in volumes in the Far East shipping market, notably in China, according to the company’s statement.
Furthermore, box volumes at international container terminals declined by 53.9% to 56,000 TEUs. This was due to a dramatic drop in cargo volumes at the Odesa terminal in Ukraine when the government banned seaborne handling there at the end of February 2022 following the Russian invasion.
Container transport declined by 5.4% to 408,000 TEUs in the intermodal sector with rail volumes falling by 5.6% year-on-year to 340,000 TEUs and road volumes dropping by 4.2% year-on-year to 68,000 TEUs.
In the first three months of the year, HHLA Group’s revenue reduced by 5.6% year-on-year to US$396.6 million and operating result (EBIT) fell significantly by 57.3% to US$24.9 million. At the same time, profit after tax and minority interests dropped by 87.7%, compared with the same period last year, to US$3 million.
Angela Titzrath, HHLA’s CEO commented, “A significant weakening in the demand for logistical services was already evident at the end of 2022. Geopolitical tensions, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, high inflation and the corresponding reduction in consumption in Europe are reflected in an economically weak start to the year worldwide.”
Titzrath went on to explain, “As we expected, container throughput and transport in the first quarter of the year were weak at HHLA as well. We expect to see a market recovery in the second quarter. On the earnings side, however, the Intermodal segment showed stable development. Overall, HHLA’s strategy of positioning itself broadly along the logistical value chain and continuously expanding its network has proven its worth.”
HHLA’s CEO concluded, “Despite the challenging times, HHLA continues to implement its strategy based on sustainability and profitable growth. In the first quarter, this involved expanding the network of our rail subsidiary Metrans, advancing our hydrogen activities, and investing in innovative solutions via HHLA Next.”
Source: Container News