HHLA Boosts Container Traffic 19 Percent

HHLA Boosts Container Traffic 19 Percent

HHLA, Hamburg's biggest stevedore, boosted container traffic 19 percent in 2010 from a year ago, outpacing its rivals and increasing its market share in the Le Havre-Hamburg port range.

The company, which handled 5.8 million 20-foot equivalent units last year, said growth was driven by strong performance in its key Asian and East European markets and a surge in German exports.

By The Numbers: Asia-Europe Westbound Container Traffic

It also benefited from improved handling of mega container ships and feeder services to the Baltic region in Europe's third largest container hub.

Revenue grew to $1.47 billion from $1.36 billion in 2009 and operating profit rose to $263 million from $219 million.

"The last financial year was very successful for HHLA. Our company not only took advantage of the global economic recovery, but also managed to increase its market share," Klaus-Dieter Peters, HHLA chief executive, said.

HHLA's intermodal unit increased traffic 13.1 percent in 2010 to 1.7 million TEUs as rail shipments either matched or surpassed the all time highs of 2008 on many routes.

HHLA ended short time working for its dockworkers in November in response to strong sustained growth in container traffic. It had cut hours for 2,000 of its 3,500 employees between 10 percent and 100 percent in July 2009 after shipments slumped by a third in the first half of the year.

HHLA's growth outpaced growth in Europe's top two container ports Rotterdam and Antwerp. The ports increased 2010 traffic 16 percent and 14 percent respectively.

HHLA's main German rival Eurogate increased traffic at its European terminals 5.2 percent to 12.6 million TEUs last year but suffered a 1 percent decline in Hamburg to 2.1 million TEUs.

-- Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.