Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) improved its operating result (EBIT) by 10 % year-on-year to € 169.3 million in the 2014 financial year. The company’s container terminals in Hamburg set a new throughput record of 7.2 million standard containers (TEU). The Intermodal companies operating in rail and road services in particular achieved another substantial increase of 9.4 % in their transport volumes to 1.3 million TEU.
This pleasing development in 2014 validates the measures taken by the company early on to further improve the quality and capacity of mega-ship handling at the terminals and to gear the company up for an increasing number of ultra large vessels calling at the harbour. HHLA increased its number of employees on the basis of the rise in volumes at the Hamburg terminals, the ongoing expansion of the hinterland networks and the increasing use of its own locomotives. 270 new members of staff took up qualified and future-proof employment positions with the company in 2014. HHLA now has a workforce totalling approximately 5,200 employees.
Furthermore, the company improved the handling and coordination of all modes of transport at the terminals. The Nautical Terminal Coordination system preponderantly operated by HHLA was launched in the last financial year to coordinate mega-ship calls at the port of Hamburg. The “Fuhre 2.0” programme, which enables HHLA to safeguard high-quality truck handling and to spread truck traffic more evenly throughout the day, was continued. With Rail Operation Management, HHLA also further increases rail processing efficiency in Europe’s biggest railway port. This primarily takes into account that more rail throughput is handled per annum at the Hamburg HHLA terminals than in both the Ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp together. Thus, HHLA is efficiently linking the seaports and the Central and Eastern Europe hinterland in a unique way. Here, the company is focusing in particular on rail as an environmentally friendly mode of transport and extends its maritime transport chains all the way to the Adriatic ports and into Turkey.
“Despite a challenging environment particularly due to the further delay in dredging the navigation channel of the river Elbe, 2014 was a successful year for HHLA, as demonstrated by the significant increase in our operating result, a clear rise in our container transports and the record volume of cargo that we handled at our Hamburg container terminals. Our vertical Group strategy puts us in a strong position and we will continue to work intensively on improving the coordination of the logistics chain in the future,” said the Chairman of HHLA’s Executive Board Klaus-Dieter Peters at the presentation of the 2014 annual financial statements. “We have invested in further improving our handling efficiency, for example by creating capacity reserves at our terminals in good time and by increasing our productivity. We made investments of more than € 100 million in the Intermodal segment over the past three years, investing in additional hinterland terminals and in our own locomotives and wagons.”
HHLA generated revenue of € 1.2 billion in the financial year 2014, up 5.4 % on the previous year. There was an even stronger increase in its operating result (EBIT), which rose by 10.0 % to € 169.3 million. This was particularly due to overseas volumes that were 4.3 % higher year-on-year. Throughput volumes generated by Far East traffic even increased by 7.2 %. Other drivers of growth were the greater volumes transferred at the HHLA terminals in Hamburg to rail (+ 6.2 %) and trucks (+ 2.1 %), and the Intermodal companies’ higher transport volumes (+ 9.4 %). HHLA Container Terminal Odessa achieved a positive operating result in spite of a 30 % drop in its throughput due to the political and economic crisis in Ukraine and Russia. Greater value added within the Intermodal segment as a result of additional terminals, own locomotives and wagons also had a positive impact.
Revenue in the listed Port Logistics subgroup went up by 5.5 % to € 1,171.2 million. The subgroup’s operating result (EBIT) increased by 11.0 % to € 155.6 million.
At the Annual General Meeting on 11 June 2015, the Executive and Supervisory Boards of HHLA will propose the payment of € 0.52 for the financial year 2014 for the listed Class A shares in the Port Logistics subgroup (97.6 % of Group revenue). This corresponds to a dividend payout ratio of almost 70 % of the net profit for the year after minority interests. Should the Annual General Meeting accept this proposal, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg alone could receive dividends totalling around € 30 million for its Class A shares and its non-listed Class S shares in the Real Estate subgroup for the last financial year. Accordingly, approximately € 11 million would go to the remaining shareholders in the Port Logistics subgroup.
HHLA once again generated considerable economic added value in 2014, in particular for the Hamburg metropolitan region. As an employer, the company spent € 414.0 million, primarily on its own and external staff members. € 39.5 million was paid to the public authorities, first and foremost as income taxes. The shareholders’ and minority shareholders’ share of the earnings came to € 90.6 million (consolidated net income).
In light of the expected development of the economy and the market environment, continued regional risks and the further delay in the dredging of the river Elbe, HHLA expects a slight increase in container throughput for the year 2015. HHLA also expects to gain further market shares for its rail companies. “We aim to set benchmarks in terms of the productivity and efficiency of our terminals, operate the most efficient rail network for container transport in Central and Eastern Europe, increase the digitalisation of our logistics chain and consolidate our high customer loyalty level by means of quality leadership,” said Chairman of the Executive Board Klaus-Dieter Peters.