Dhe Hamburg port group HHLA is preparing for long-term disrupted supply chains and delays in container traffic. On Thursday, CEO Angela Titzrath appealed to shipping companies, freight forwarders, the railways, clients and authorities to coordinate better. All participants in the logistics chain should be aware of their responsibility and not exploit the situation for their own interests, said the HHLA boss on Thursday at the virtual general meeting.
A lesson can already be learned from the increasingly uncertain world: “Just-in-time production shows risks. And volatility requires flexibility from everyone,” emphasized Titzrath.
War, lockdowns and strikes are a burden
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG – like other logistics companies – has been struggling for months with the shipping companies’ schedules, which have gotten mixed up due to the corona lockdowns in China and the Ukraine war. Containers pile up at the terminals because the freighters often do not take all the steel boxes with them. At the same time, export or import loads would be delivered too early or too late, Titzrath said. “The consequences are container boxes that clog the system and slow down handling operations.” In addition, more than 100,000 truck drivers from Ukraine were missing because of the war. The bottleneck has increased. As a result, cargo space has become scarcer and prices have risen.
The removal is also hampered by the fact that construction sites are often not announced in good time by the authorities, resulting in long traffic jams in which trucks are stuck for hours. Due to the warning strike by the port workers, the clearance in Hamburg was further delayed.
However, HHLA does not anticipate any serious impact on its own business. Titzrath confirmed the recently raised forecast according to which the operating result (EBIT) of the group should end up in a range between 175 and 210 (previous year 228) million euros this year. The Executive Board expects a moderate increase in container handling, transport in the hinterland and sales compared to the previous year. The result is mainly driven by higher storage fees for containers, which HHLA collects because of the ship delays, which sometimes last several weeks.
Meanwhile, talks with Bremen’s rival Eurogate about a merger of the North German container ports, which have been going on for months, are dragging on. There is no new situation, said Titzrath. The parties involved agreed not to disclose anything. She was confident that a declaration of intent for a port alliance, which had already been promised several times, would still come about.