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HHLA lowers earnings target as Hamburg terminals hit by Russian and Chinese economic woes

HHLA lowers earnings target as Hamburg terminals hit by Russian and Chinese economic woes

German port logistics group Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has announced a change in its earning target after its Hamburg terminals were hurt by Russia and China’s economic problems.

As the container segment of the company has been experiencing persistently weak and continually decreasing volume development this year, it announced that its container business will not meet the previously operating result of between €125m (US$140.2m) and €135m (US$151.4m). However, it did not specify what it now expects the container business to make.

An HHLA spokesperson told CM that its container throughput, which accounted for about 62% of its revenue in 2014, declined sharply in each of the company’s three terminals in Hamburg in the period from January to September 2015 as a reflection of the slowdown in world trade growth.

The spokesperson added that the sharp decline in container traffic was mainly due to the slowdown in the growth rate of China, which is Hamburg’s main trading partner, and the decline in Russian economy, which has lead the company’s traffic between Russia and Hamburg to fall by about 40%.

Due to the collapse of the rouble, throughput at Russian ports has gone down down by 30% in 2015 so far. Hamburg’s Baltic trading partner Kaliningrad has had a throughput fall of 56% while St Petersburg’s volumes have gone down by 28%.

The company added that, due to the decline of its container business, it now expects a consolidated operating group result (EBIT) in the region of just €150m (US$168.2m), down from €169.3m (US$189.9m) in 2014.

The expected result for HHLA’s intermodal segment, which concerns the inland transport of containers and accounted for 30% of the company’s revenue in 2014, has not changed as the logistics group has reported a strong increase in earnings compared to last year.

The Port of Hamburg ranked 15th in the 2015 issue of CM’s World Top Container Ports, having handled 9.7m teu in 2014.