The start of 2023 was a challenging period for Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) in the face of ongoing geopolitical tensions, EU economic sanctions and slower economic growth. The HHLA Group’s revenue fell by 5.6 percent to € 364.7 million in the first three months of the year (previous year: € 386.2 million). The operating result (EBIT) decreased year on year by 57.3 percent to € 22.9 million (previous year: € 53.7 million).
The EBIT margin was 6.3 percent, down from 13.9 percent in the same quarter of the previous year. The main reasons for the fall in revenue and earnings were the reduced demand for container throughput, the decrease in storage fees at the Hamburg container terminals and the suspension of seaborne handling at the Odessa container terminal. Profit after tax and minority interests fell by 87.7 percent to € 2.8 million (previous year: € 22.8 million).
In the Container segment, the throughput volume at HHLA’s container terminals decreased overall by 18.6 percent to 1,416 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 1,740 thousand TEU). At 1,360 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the Hamburg container terminals was down 15.9 percent on the same period last year (previous year: 1,618 thousand TEU).
The main driver of this development was the strong decline in volumes in the Far East shipping region, particularly China. The positive momentum from North American cargo volumes was unable to compensate for this. Feeder traffic volumes were also significantly down from the previous year. In addition to the Swedish and Polish routes, Russian volumes in particular were sharply down year-on-year as a result of the EU sanctions. The proportion of seaborne handling by feeders decreased moderately year-on-year to 18.1 percent (previous year: 21.2 percent).
At the international container terminals, throughput volume fell by 53.9 percent to 56 thousand TEU (previous year: 122 thousand TEU). This was due to the significant decline in cargo volumes at the Odessa terminal after seaborne handling there was suspended by the authorities at the end of February 2022 following the Russian invasion.
Revenue in this segment fell by 18.8 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2023 to € 175.8 million (previous year: € 216.4 million). This was mainly due to decreased volumes and shorter container dwell times at the Hamburg container terminals, which had had a positive effect on revenue in the same period last year due to supply chain disruptions.
Against this background, the operating result (EBIT) decreased by 84.9 percent to € 5.7 million (previous year: € 37.8 million). The international terminals TK Estonia and PLT Italy each made positive contributions to the operating result. The EBITDA margin fell by 14.2 percentage points to 3.2 percent (previous year: 17.4 percent).
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