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HHLA financial results show early impacts of COVID-19

HHLA financial results show early impacts of COVID-19
HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in Hamburg

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has recorded a moderate decrease in revenue and a significant drop in earnings for the first three months of the 2020 financial year.

Earnings Before Interests and Taxes (EBIT) fell 38.6% to €36.7m (US$39.9m) while revenue decreased by 3.4% to €355.7m (US$386.7m).

Meanwhile, Earnings Before Interests, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) dropped by 21.3% to €98.4m (US$106.9m).

HHLA’s container segment also took a hit, with container throughput across its terminals falling 3.7% to 1.786m teu and container transport falling considerably.

At the company’s Hamburg terminals, container volume decreased by 4.1% to 1.652m teu compared to 1.722m teu in 2019.

Ship delays resulting from severe storms other Northern Europe and blank sailings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a moderate decrease in cargo volumes from the Far East, HHLA noted.

Handling volumes at its international container terminals in Odessa and Tallinn were on a par with the previous year at 144,000 teu compared to the previous year’s 143,000 teu.

Angela Titzrath, chairwoman of HHLA’s executive board, said: “Our expectations for the current financial year were marked by optimism; however we are aware that external conditions for our business have been changing for some time due to a range of factors.

“The effects of the storms in the spring and the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic have nevertheless left a mark on our performance figures.”

Revenues from the container segment decreased by 2.6% year-on-year to €195.6m (US$212.6m) in the first quarter of 2020, primarily caused by the decrease in volumes due to COVID-19.

Average revenue per container handled at the quayside rose by 1.1% year-on-year thanks to an advantageous modal split with a proportion of hinterland volumes and a temporary increase in income from storage fees due to longer dwell times brought about by weather-related delays.

In the intermodal segment, container transport decreased 5.1% to 378,000 teu from 398,000 teu with a larger drop seen in road transport compared to rail transport.

Rail transport decreased 3.3% to 300,000 teu and the significant fall in maritime traffic from both the North German and Adriatic seaports was partially offset by strong growth in continental traffic.

Largely due to weak growth in the Hamburg region and a persistently challenging market environment, road transport volumes fell by 11.4% year-on-year to 78,000 teu.

At €116.8m (US$126.9m), revenue from this segment dropped significantly by 5.8% compared to the previous year’s figure of €123.9m (US$134.6m).

Titzrath added: “We have to adapt to a situation we have never experienced in our company’s history and that we cannot influence. 2020 will be one of the most challenging years in the history of HHLA.