HHLA Aims to Be Gateway to the Future

German terminal operator Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) aims to be a gateway to the future, enabling containerships, trains but also data flow through the company’s terminals.

“Our overarching objective is to help our customers to transport their goods and commodities safely, quickly and efficiently from A to B – also in the future. In doing so, HHLA aims to be the gateway to the future,” Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board, said.

In September, HHLA hosted a conference focusing on the question of how logistical transport flows will evolve as a result of digitalization. At the event, it was concluded that containers will still be around for some time to come.

However, HHLA said it needs to be prepared for change, in line with its strategic approach.

“Containers will still be around for some time to come. Therefore, we must continue to invest in strengthening our core business so that we can meet the future needs of our customers. Equally important is our search for new, digital business fields,” Titzrath pointed out.

As informed, more and more start-ups are discovering Speicherstadt historical warehouse district — where HHLA is located — as a location to transform their initial concepts into market-ready solutions. HHLA said it supports these innovation incubators. For example, HHLA has invested in a startup that specializes in software solutions for drones.

“Drones are already being used at HHLA’s terminals… However, we also see further potential for these unmanned flying objects,” Titzrath said.

According to HHLA Chairwoman, investments and partnerships are necessary in order to benefit from innovative developments as quickly as possible. The company also cooperates with the truck manufacturer MAN in the field of intuitive mobility as it wants to find solutions that will enable self-driving trucks to operate at HHLA’s terminals in the future.

Image Courtesy: HHLA / Thies Rätzke

HHLA continued its positive development in the current financial year, exceeding the previous year’s result in the first nine months of 2018. Group revenue increased by 2.3 percent to EUR 964.2 million in the first three quarters of this year, from EUR 942.8 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier.

In addition, group operating result (EBIT) rose by 0.6 percent to EUR 156.1 million during the January-September 2018 period from EUR 155.2 million posted in the same period last year.

During the first three quarters of 2018, HHLA increased its level of investment in METRANS, Czech Republic, and now holds 100 % of shares in the company. HHLA also acquired 100 % of shares in HHLA TK Estonia AS, a terminal operator based in Tallinn, Estonia.

Container throughput rose slightly by 1 percent year-on-year to 5,507 thousand TEU. This was mainly attributable to a sustained positive development in Far East volumes, as well as the takeover of the container terminal in Tallinn, according to the company.

By contrast, there was a slight decline in container transport of 2.5 percent to 1,098 thousand TEU. This development is linked to the planned realignment of POLZUG activities and a decrease in road transport.

HHLA expects container throughput in 2018 to be in the region of the previous year.  The container transport volume is also forecast to remain in the region of the previous year, as Polish intermodal traffic is being realigned in the course of its integration into Metrans.

“HHLA remains on its successful course in the current financial year. We will safely reach the targets set for 2018, despite an ever-changing market environment,” Titzrath concluded.