China Seeks Stake in Hamburg Container Terminal, Would Become First Non-German Stakeholder

On June 4, state-owned COSCO Shipping Ports and Germany’s Hamburg Hafen Logistics confirmed that they are in negotiations over the acquisition of a minority stake by the Chinese company in one of four container terminals at the Port of Hamburg: specifically, Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT).  Although it would be only a minority stake acquisition, if realized, the deal would be the first time a non-German operator buys into the country’s main container shipping port.  Notably, China is the Port of Hamburg’s largest trading partner.

Hamburg is Germany’s largest seaport by volume, but CTT is the smallest terminal at the port.  The port also claims to be Europe’s leading railway port, as it is a critical transshipment node for Central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, and Poland.  The track network of the port connects to the continental European railway system, with approximately 130 rail companies operating on Port of Hamburg tracks.

The acquisition would be COSCO’s eighth port investment in Europe, expanding the company’s existing investment portfolio from the region, which is currently comprised of a majority 51% stake in Greece’s Piraeus Port (which COSCO is actively seeking to expand to 67%), as well as equity positions in Belgium’s Antwerp Terminal, and the Euromax terminal in CSP Zeebrugge.