HHLA suffers slump as COVID-19 leads to more blank sailings


Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA) saw its revenue fall by 9.4% year-on-year (YoY) in the first half of 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the terminal operator said container throughput at its portfolio of terminals “fell markedly” between January and the end of June 2020 due to weak global trade.

Additionally, it said it is “not possible” to make a reliable forecast for the rest of 2020 but that it assumes revenue will be “strongly below” 2019.

However, Angela Titzrath, HHLA Chairwoman, said the company envisages a “gradual recovery” over the rest of 2020.

It posted a drop in throughput of 11.3% globally and 12% at its three Hamburg terminals.

It attributed this to the increase in blank sailings brought on as a result of the pandemic, which resulted in a significant decline in cargo volumes, particularly from the Far East.

Feeder traffic with the Baltic region decreased markedly and could not be offset by growth in the German and British shipping regions. The international container terminals in Odessa and Tallinn recorded a slight decrease in throughput volume of 2.4 % year-on-year (YoY).

The decreases in volume primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic could not be adequately offset by the additional traffic in the first quarter, the company said.

In addition to a drop in revenue, its operating result also decline by 51.5%.

“The measures imposed in the second quarter in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic have posed unprecedented challenges for society and business,” Titzrath said.

“As a company which forms part of the critical logistics chain infrastructure, we have nonetheless consistently upheld our responsibility and reliably maintained supply routes in Germany and Europe.

“By means of prudent cost reductions and restraint in our capital expenditure, we have sought to limit the strong impact of the crisis on our performance and to be ready once the situation eases again.

“Despite the ongoing challenges which are demanding a great deal of effort from us, we are continuing to work on strengthening HHLA’s future viability.”

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