Hamburg as a Fruit Port

Hamburg is Germany’s most important fruit port. Imported fruit is handled and stored at temperature-controlled facilities by HHLA’s fruit and refrigeration centre. The fruit-forwarding company Ulrich Stein then takes care of everything else to ensure that the goods reach the customer. A verifiable, closed transport and cold chain is guaranteed, and certification in accordance with the International Food Standard is a given. Containers and general cargo on the liner services arriving from South and Central America can also be handled at the O’Swaldkai multi-purpose terminal in Hamburg. To enable this, the latest technical equipment and qualified staff members are available.

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Technical data, certificates and additional information

Germany’s biggest fruit handling facility operates at the O’Swaldkai multi-purpose terminal in Hamburg. HHLA’s fruit and refrigeration centre (HHLA Frucht) discharges approximately 500,000 tonnes of bananas and almost 80,000 tonnes of apples, pineapples, grapes, citrus fruit and potatoes every year. The Belgian Sea-Invest Group holds a 49 percent stake in the company.

When discharging the cargo from the ship’s hold and from the reefer containers themselves, the cold chain must not be broken. HHLA therefore uses the latest technical ship-handling and ground-handling equipment to take the pallets to the climate-controlled warehouses immediately.

Although the tropical fruit used to arrive primarily on reefer ships, it is now transported in reefer containers. HHLA Frucht has more than 300 electricity connections for these containers. In partnership with HCCR (Hamburger Container- und Chassis-Reparatur-Gesellschaft mbH), a complete range of container maintenance and repair services is available directly at Terminal O’Swaldkai, including regular inspections (PTI), in particular.

HHLA Frucht uses mobile harbour cranes for all-purpose handling, such as the extremely high-performance Terex Gottwald HMK 4406.

HHLA’s fruit and refrigeration centre is the most important location for fruit handling in Germany. The company has suitable technical handling technology and ground-handling vehicles to deal efficiently with the specialised reefer vessels and container ships. However, the project cargo and heavy goods that frequently arrive on inland vessels can also be handled at the O’Swaldkai multi-purpose terminal in Hamburg.

The extremely high-performance Terex Gottwald bicable-type G HMK 4406 mobile harbour crane primarily handles reefer ships carrying bananas. It can hoist the sensitive fruit both on pallets from the cargo hold as well as discharge reefer containers arriving as deck cargo. With a maximum load capacity of 100 tonnes and a working radius of up to 46 metres, the mobile crane is also suitable for handling heavy goods and project cargo for almost all other ships.

Two other smaller, fourth generation HMK 90 E cranes allow palleted goods to be quickly discharged from the reefer ships. Like these cranes, the new one can also be moved swiftly to the quayside. All of the cranes have a high working speed, which provides for good productivity and ensures that there is no disruption to the cold chain, especially when handling fruit pallets.

As well as large handling equipment on the quayside, HHLA’s fruit and refrigeration centre has the latest equipment for handling containers, palleted goods and general cargo. In addition to two reach stackers, a total of 60 forklift trucks with various load capacities are available for this.

Technical data of the terminal

Premises 145.000 m²
Quay wall 530 m
Berths 3
Maxumum draft 9,50 m
Mobile crane 100T 1
Mobile crane 18T 2
Reach Stackers 2
Forklift trucks 60
Truck handling ramps 30
Connections for reefer containers 300
Pallet spaces, conventional 13,000
Pallet spaces, automated 8,200


Ulrich Stein Spedition is a fruit logistics company, equally specialized and successful, mainly as a tropical fruit importer. The most frequent fruit is the banana but the firm’s extensive know-how ensures that fruit of all kinds reaches the customer in excellent condition. Ulrich Stein Spedition is extremely familiar with the multiplicity of Customs regulations and the special agencies responsible for plant protection or the condition of the goods or bio-certificates. The fruit logistics experts use specially developed software that gives them total control of the handling process at every stage.


HHLA Frucht specialises in handling and storing all types of fruit. In addition to one of the world’s most modern refrigerated warehouses for handling bananas with a capacity of approximately 8,000 pallets, a further 18 refrigerated areas are available. They have a total capacity of almost 13,000 pallet spaces and their temperature can be set separately within a range of -2 to +14 degrees.

These facilities give Hamburg its renowned reputation as a fruit port. As well as its most important import – bananas from South America – HHLA Fruit also handles apples from New Zealand, citrus fruit and grapes from South Africa, pineapples from Costa Rica and potatoes from Israel and Egypt.

Handling and temperature controlled warehousing of fruits and vegetables. 

meet the requirements set out in the IFS Logistics, Version 2.3, June 2021 and other associated normative documents  at Foundation level. 

Certification body AGRIZERT Zertifizierungs GmbH 

View certificate

Contact persons

Axel Hoeckrich

Managing Director

Phone +49 40 3088-7352

Mobile +49 151 16583413

Lars Erven


Commercial Director

Phone +49 40 3088-7335

Saskia Mukurarinda

Cross-sectional functions

Phone +49 40 3088-7336