In the first half of 2014, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) increased its revenue by 5.2% to €595m (US$796m) and improved its operating result (EBIT) by 3.4% to €81m (US$108m).
With throughput growth of 2.1% at its Hamburg container terminals, the company said it has consolidated its market position among the north of Europe’s major ports. However the drop in container traffic at Odessa, Ukraine resulting from the crisis in the region, meant that its container segment saw an overall throughput increase of 0.7%, or 3.8m teu for the first half year.
Feeder traffic via the Baltic to Russia declined for the first time since 2009. In contrast, the throughput growth in Hamburg was due to the sharp rise of 8% in Far East traffic on existing liner services compared with the first half of 2013.
The company’s hinterland systems for container transport by road and rail increased their volumes by 9% to 633,000 teu. The growth is attributed to the success of the newly established rail links in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since the end of 2012. Existing connections with the Czech Republic and Slovakia and traffic with the Polish seaports also recorded an increase.
The company said it expects a slight increase in container throughput for the year as a whole, provided that the current structure of freight flows remains unchanged. With regard to container transport, the company is targeting growth well above the market trend.
It acknowledged, though, that a number of fundamental uncertainties will continue to apply: particularly the conflict in Ukraine and the development of economic relationships with Russia, as well as the progress of consolidation in the container shipping sector.
“HHLA has achieved a favourable performance in the first half of 2014,” said Klaus-Dieter Peters, chairman of the company’s executive board. “We have maintained our significantly expanded market position in container handling as well as the growth trend for our container transport services.
“This has enabled us to generate higher revenue and improve our earnings. Despite rising competitive pressure and continuing infrastructure restrictions, this is a highly significant development.”