Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is a leading European logistics company. Together with its customers, HHLA develops logistics and digital hubs for the transport streams of the future. In doing so, it focuses on innovative technologies and sustainable solutions.
APAC Business: Mr. Anke, Could you tell us more about HHLA and your business in the Asia Pacific region?
Mr. Lars Anke: HHLA is one of Europe’s largest terminal operators. Apart from our three container terminals and various other facilities in the port of Hamburg we operate terminals on Odessa, Tallin and Trieste. Furthermore our rail-cargo subsidiary METRANS with 18 rail-terminals in central and eastern Europe is one of the leading operators in the region and our company provides logistics services in the Caucasus region out of Poti. So naturally we have very close relationship with the Asia-Pacific region, as we are, together with our customers and partners, linking Asia and Europe. In Hamburg China and Singapore occupy the first and third rank, when it comes to container turnover, Japan and Korea are important markets for German and European foreign trade. So close connections in the region are of crucial importance for our business. The growing importance of the rail connection between China and Europe, which was accelerated during the COVID 19 also provides numerous cooperation opportunities with Asian partners.
Apart from these core business areas HHLA is actively working on incorporating new technologies in the logistics sector. This is part of our DNA, our Containerterminal Altenwerder (CTA) in Hamburg was the spearhead of terminal automatization back in 2001. Today our activities reach from the implementation of drone technology with our subsidiary HHLA Sky, over digital service platforms like Mobility, to 3D-printing, implemented by Bionic Production GmbH, hyperloop technology or automated trucks. The Asia Pacific region is not only a huge market for these new solutions, but first and foremost one of the most dynamic regions for R&D in these areas as well. Here we see huge potential for cooperation on mutual development of the logistics solutions for the future.
APAC Business: Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the global supply chain, what are the challenges and opportunities for your business?
Mr. Lars Anke: Obviously COVID 19 has created a very challenging environment for global logistics. The global logistics network was under enormous pressure over the last two years. As terminal and rail operator we worked very hard to provide reliable services to our customers during this period. Delays in seaborne and hinterland traffic confront us with unexpected peaks, due to shortages of containers, temporary lockdowns in different parts if the world and shortages of personnel. Faced with these challenges is has also to be mentioned, that even in the hights of uncertainty during the pandemic the global logistics chain did not break, and all involved stakeholders did and amazing job to keep up global supply while also always putting health and safety of employees and customers first.
Many of the challenges that we have to confront during the pandemic are results of developments we have long been aware of. Increasing vessel-sizes, the shortage of truck drivers in Europe and elsewhere and imbalances in global trade, resulting in hick-ups in container distribution and the necessity to increase intermodal logistics networks and data-exchange, just to name some. The pandemic accelerated and multiplied these issues. Here lies an opportunity to find solutions and enhance efficiency of the global logistics network. HHLA is actively striving for this enhancement via the development of new technical solutions and global cooperation.
APAC Business: In 2021, Hong Kong-listed terminal operator Cosco Shipping Ports Limited (CSPL) acquired a 35% stake in HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT), What do you think of this cooperation? What other cooperation opportunities can achieve win-win in the future?
Mr. Lars Anke: Cosco and HHLA, especially CTT, are linked by a history of cooperation that dates back decades. The first Chinese vessel called at CTT back in 1982. Eves since Hamburg and CTT have been an important hub for Chinese vessels in northern Europe. With CSPLs acquisition of a 35% stake in CTT this cooperation reaches a new level. Not only expect we to secure volumes for Hamburg, but are sure that together with our Chinese partners we can expand services of the terminal for all our customers and develop even stronger networks in the future. Cosco is one of the key players in global logistics and we are happy to develop better services for our customers together. These challenging times show very clearly the need for international cooperation. We are certain that there are many more cooperation opportunities. The logistics industry is a global industry, be it in the ports sector of the hinterland. To tackle the challenges ahead and use the opportunities of the dynamic development in Europe’s and Asia’s logistical framework is something we look forward to with our Asian partners.
APAC Business: Mr. Anke, Can you share us a little bit more about your personal experience and the feeling of living in China and Asia?
Mr. Lars Anke: I have been permanently living in Asia, and mainly China, since 2006. I think the most striking experience of living in the region is obviously the speed of change and development. Especially China has had a remarkable growth, which not only changed the face of the country, but also society and the way of life. But Asia is as diverse, as it is vast. When we look at the booming start-up industries in Japan or Singapore, the impact of Korean pop-culture all over the world, the impressive developments in south-east and south Asia, and new opportunities in central Asia we begin to understand how much Europe can nowadays not only benefit from markets and manufacturing, but most and foremost learn from Asia. An overall positive attitude towards change and innovation creates a dynamic in the region that can be a role model to face global challenges ahead.
*This article comes from our member in Asia Pacific.