Freight News, Sea

HHLA fears for employees in Odessa

[ February 24, 2022   //   ]

German-based terminal operator Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) says its employees in its Odessa terminal in Ukraine could be badly affected by Russia’s invasion of their country.

HHLA has been operated a terminal there since 2001.

Chief executive Angela Titzrath said that the port of Odessa was closed on the morning of 24 February by the Ukrainian authorities and all 480 HHLA employees have left the terminal.

They had “reliably handled” two ships that were then able to leave the port. In order to support its employees in a difficult situation, the HHLA Executive Board decided this morning to pay one monthly salary in advance to allow employees to stock up on essential goods.

She added: “Martial law now prevails in Ukraine. We must therefore assume that Ukrainian HHLA employees will also be obliged to do military service. The fact that women and children now have to fear for the lives of their husbands and fathers is deeply affecting all HHLA employees.

HHLA as a group is not materially affected by the events in OdessaTrade with Russia has already fallen by a quarter since 2014 as a result of the Russian occupation of Crimea and subsequent sanctions.

Our thoughts and solidarity in these hours are with the people of Ukraine and especially the people of Odessa.

Titzrath continued: “This is a bitter day for all peace-loving people worldwide. We condemn the invasion of the independent nation Ukraine by Russian troops in the strongest possible terms. This is an act contrary to international law that destroys the security architecture that has been tried and tested in Europe for 30 years.

She concluded: “Currently, the situation is still confusing, which is why it is in our view still too early to say anything about the possible effects of sanctions or the consequences of war.

“Our thoughts and solidarity in these hours are with the people of Ukraine and especially the people of Odessa.

“Against this background, I join the numerous appeals to the Russian President to immediately stop the attack on Ukraine and to withdraw Russian troops. War has never been a means of resolving conflicts, and it should no longer be a means in the 21st Century, bearing in mind the terrible experiences we had here in Europe with two world wars and millions of deaths.”