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Published: 22 January 2010      

Tollerort terminal to be closed

HHLA has announced plans to close CTT Container Terminal Tollerort

The global financial crisis has hit the city and port of Hamburg very hard. Although official figures are not yet available, it is understood that container volumes handled in 2009 went down by almost 30% compared with 2008.

The feeder business, which accounts for around 33% of total throughput, was particularly badly hit as deepsea carriers consilidated more calls in Rotterdam and demand from the Russian market slumped.

The biggest terminal operator, HHLA, put 2000 of its 3500 workforce on short time (Kurzarbeit) in July, but additional cuts and cost savings have to be made. How many jobs will be lost is not yet known, but it could involve more than 100 people.

HHLA management has informed staff that Tollerort Container Terminal (CTT) will be closed and its operations merged with CTB Burchardkai, to secure as many of the 400 jobs at CTT as possible.

It is rumoured that HHLA will build up its own container lashing organisation instead of using outside contractors for this work. Heinz Brand, HHLA's director of personnel, previously made this change to direct working when he was at Eurogate.

It remains unclear what will become of the CTT site, where a large repair workshop recently started operations. HHLA also erected a new office building and garage at the terminal. Compounding the problem, HHLA ordered up to five new container gantries for CTT and they are due for delivery in this summer.

HHLA's chairman Klaus-Dieter Peters has said, however, that the business will continue to expand and between 2009 and 2011 E600M will be invested. This is half the originally planned amount, but the reconstruction programme at CTB is already under way, with a new superpost-Panamax berth on the south side to be served by ASC blocks.

The savings plans have already achieved reductions for external labour, energy, fuel, rail cost, etc from E368M in 2008 to E257M last year.

At the time of writing, the city government, which still holds 68% of HHLA's shares, has not commented on the situation.

  • A report on FLZ, the new HHLA/Eurogate joint venture aimed at shoring up business from feeder lines, will be published in the January edition of WorldCargo News.

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