HHLA says Ukraine and Russia affecting business
HHLA, a major terminal operator and logistics company based in Hamburg, but with operations in several locations, said that in the first half of the year it had a profit at 26 million euro ($35 million), down 10 percent from the first six months of 2013.
The company had revenues of 596 million euro, a 5.2-percent increase over the same period last year, and earnings before interest and taxes were at 81 million euro, a 3.4-percent increase.
Growth at the the company’s Hamburg terminals amounted to 2.1 percent, and the company said, “This growth is almost entirely attributable to the strong increase of 8 percent in cargo for Hamburg’s Far East traffic, which now accounts for 46.1 percent of total seaborne handling activities at HHLA’s Hamburg terminals.”
It continued, “On the other hand, feeder traffic to Central and Eastern European countries on the Baltic Sea weakened for the first time. Russia’s economic crisis is now making itself felt here.” The company said the proportion of seaborne handling activities accounted for by feeder traffic decreased from 27.7 percent in the first half of 2013 to 26.4 percent.
The company also said its terminal in Odessa was being affected by the crisis in the Ukraine, with container throughput falling “considerably short of the previous year’s figures.”
The company did not specify what those numbers were, but overall container throughput was just 0.7 percent in contrast to the 2.1 percent growth in Hamburg.
HHLA said it has seen a dwell-time related increase in storage fees as companies begin to put bigger ships into service.
“Since the start of 2014, export containers, in particular, have recorded unusually long storage periods due to shipping delays”.
HHLA said all major Northern European ports are being affected by these peak loads from large ships, and that its terminals are trying to cover these challenges.
HHLA said a new mega-ship berth will become fully operational at the Container Terminal Burchardkai in Hamburg, with five state-of-the-art gantry cranes, which will be able to handle ships with carrying capacities as high as 18,000 TEU.
“A series of process improvements in truck handling and a further increase in headcount at the Hamburg terminals will also help cope better with peak loads," it said.
Earlier this month, Maersk announced a congestion surcharge for direct trucks
moving carriage haulage shipments through Hamburg.
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