It is the preliminary end of a long journey: on Wednesday morning, the first families of HHLA staff members from Ukraine arrived in Hamburg. Approximately 80 women, children and older people who decided to flee their homeland arrived at the company’s main building on two touring coaches chartered by HHLA. A third bus with 40 additional refugees is expected within the next few days.
Since the closure of its terminal in the port of Odessa following the Russian attacks on Ukraine, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG has assigned top priority to the safety of its 480 employees and their families. Together with consultancy subsidiary HPC, a HHLA team consisting of employees working in various areas organised transportation from Romania, where the refugees had arrived, to Hamburg. In addition, support staff assisted people who had fled Odessa in their private cars.
The refugees will stay with German HHLA employees temporarily. More than 70 HHLA employees and their relatives and neighbours responded to the company’s call and have offered people a place to stay in their homes. The German employees are not only providing the refugees with “homes” for the initial period but also serve as contacts and chaperones for pending bureaucratic procedures. They are supported by HHLA staff members with knowledge of Ukrainian and Russian.
Furthermore, HHLA employees have collected more than 40,000 euros within a short period of time in the course of a “Together for Odessa” pledge campaign.
With regard to the refugees’ arrival, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board Angela Titzrath states: “As one of Europe’s leading logistics companies, we are aware of our responsibility for our employees, no matter at which location they work for us. Cohesion and the ability to rely on one another are distinguishing features of our corporate culture that will stand the test in these difficult times, as they do in our everyday working lives. We are also demonstrating solidarity with our staff members in Odessa by continuing to reliably fulfil our supply mandate at all other locations and by rail.”
HHLA Labour Director Torben Seebold, who welcomed the refugees in the company headquarters, declares: “The Executive Board is deeply moved by our employees’ tremendous effort on behalf of their colleagues in Odessa. We stand together as HHLA family to take a common stance of solidarity and humanity. During this time, our thoughts are particularly with the employees who remained in Odessa and who are looking after security at the terminal or who have been called to military duty.”
HHLA operates a container terminal in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. In consultation with the local authorities, the terminal was closed and employees sent home when the Russian army invaded. The HHLA Executive Board immediately arranged to pay employees their monthly salaries in advance so that they could stockpile goods they need for everyday consumption.