Hamburg’s Container Volume Rises as HHLA Wins Traffic From Rotterdam

eurogate container terminal hamburg hhla
Feeder ships at the Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg, image (c) HHLA

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) — Hamburger Hafen & Logistik AG, which handles about three of four containers at Hamburg’s port, saw rising volume last year as feeder traffic to the Baltic Sea and Russia grew amid a shrinking northern European market.

Full-year container volume rose 4.4 percent to 7.5 million standard 20-foot containers, or TEUs, preliminary data showed, the Hamburg-based terminal operator said in a statement today.

“Transshipment can move from one port to the other and we have taken a lot of business from Rotterdam,” Stefan Behn, a member of HHLA’s executive board, said at a business forum in Hamburg on Feb 5. before the release of the figures.

Europe’s second-biggest container port is competing with other north European ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp for transshipment — the transfer of containers from deep-sea ships from Asia to smaller feeder vessels destined mostly for the Baltics and Russia. Hamburg also needs to handle an increasing number of big ships, while a dredging project to deepen and widen the Elbe connecting the port and the North Sea has been delayed by an environmentalist lawsuit.

Earnings before interest and taxes fell about 15 percent to 158 million euros ($214 million), reaching the lower end of its full-year Ebit forecast of 155 million euros to 175 million euros, HHLA said. Sales rose to 1.16 billion euros from 1.13 billion euros.

HHLA shares rose 0.4 percent to 18.53 euros at 9:40 a.m. in Frankfurt. The stock has advanced 4.2 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 1.4 billion euros. HHLA will publish its complete set of 2013 financial results as well as a forecast for 2014 on March 27, it said.

– Nicholas Brautlecht, Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.