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.