In the first quarter of 2014, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) increased its container throughput by 2.4 per cent to 1.9 million standard containers (TEU). The volume transported by HHLA’s Intermodal companies grew by 5.1 per cent to 305 thousand TEU. The operating result (EBIT) improved by 4.8 per cent to EUR 39.3 million. Group revenue increased by 6.8 per cent to EUR 293.5 million.
Growth in stagnating markets
“The 2014 financial year started well for Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. The volume increases in both container throughput and transport are particularly pleasing given that we achieved them in largely stagnating markets”, said Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of HHLA’s Executive Board. “Strong growth in Far East traffic was the main factor in enabling us to extend our market position in container handling. This demonstrates our strength in operating in a persistently challenging industry environment. Numerous efficiency-boosting process innovations paid off here.”
Sustainable growth of operating result
“The figures for the first quarter also once again bear out our intermodal strategy. The transport volume, revenue and earnings recorded by our hinterland transportation services rose significantly, with disproportionately strong growth again being seen on the new connections in Germany, with Austria and Switzerland,” Peters continued
Far East Traffic drives growth in container throughput
In the first three months of 2014, HHLA’s container terminals in Hamburg and Odessa increased their throughput volume by 2.4 per cent to 1,862 thousand standard containers (TEU) (previous year: 1,818 thousand TEU). Considerable growth of 8.1 per cent in Far East cargo at the HHLA terminals in Hamburg played a substantial role here. Revenue in the Container segment rose by 5.8 per cent to EUR 186.1 million (previous year: EUR 175.9 million), and thereby outpaced the growth in volumes. The operating result (EBIT) grew by 17.3 per cent to EUR 37.3 million (previous year: EUR 31.8 million). The container terminal in Odessa recorded a decline in the first quarter which was for the time being only partly attributable to the political crisis between Ukraine and Russia.
HHLA’s hinterland strategy confirmed by success
HHLA’s transport companies once again succeeded in increasing their container traffic in the seaport hinterland in the first three months of 2014. With growth of 5.1 per cent, the transport volume climbed to 305 thousand standard containers (TEU). This rise was due firstly to more frequent links with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and secondly to the success of the new services in Germany, with Austria and Switzerland. HHLA succeeded in further extending its market position here by virtue of considerably higher volumes. With growth of 12.9 per cent to EUR 82.9 million (previous year: EUR 73.4 million), the revenue trend in the Intermodal segment outpaced the increase in volume. With growth of 8.1 per cent at EUR 5.8 million (previous year: EUR 5.4 million), EBIT also outpaced volume development.
Forecast for revenue and EBIT unchanged
A number of fundamental uncertainties remain as regards the rest of the year. These relate first and foremost to the crisis in Ukraine, general economic risks and the current consolidation process, which is giving rise to new alliances and co-operations in container shipping. Provided that the current structure of cargo flows remains intact, HHLA still expects a slight increase in container throughput and moderate, above-market growth of its Intermodal companies for the full year 2014. On this basis, HHLA aims to achieve revenue slightly higher than in the previous year. At the same time, infrastructure deficits and competitive pressure due to growing idle terminal capacities represent increasing burdens. With this in mind, matching the previous year’s earnings figure remains an ambitious target.