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Germany agreed for COSCO Shipping to acquire 24.9% stake in Hamburg po

Germany agreed for COSCO Shipping to acquire 24.9% stake in Hamburg port


German cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning approved COSCO's purchase of 24.9% of the Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT Terminal) owned by German terminal operator Hamburg Port and Logistics Corporation (HHLA).

The purchase is lower than the 35% stake originally planned. According to Deutsche Welle on Monday, the six federal cabinet ministries that had previously opposed a Chinese stake had largely agreed to the compromise, as shareholders only have a veto if they hold a stake of 25 percent or more. A further 10 per cent will be available only after a "freeze period", during which COSCO Shipping will need to prove it is a reliable partner.

Angela Titzrath, HHLA chairman, welcomed the federal government's decision and said further communication with COsco would be carried out in a timely manner. "The maritime industry is undergoing huge changes," he said. In such a situation, long-term stable cooperation is very important. In recent years, CTT terminal has developed into an important hub of COSCO shipping line. On this basis, HHLA and COSCO Maritime Ports ensure that the Port of Hamburg and CTT Port play an important role in China-Europe trade." Indeed, back in September Axel Mattern, Hamburg's chief executive, said: "Turning away the Chinese would be a disaster, not only for the port but also for Germany."

Hamburg is the largest port in Germany and one of the most important hubs for European trade with China. With abundant rear collection and transportation facilities, it is also an important European node for China-Europe freight trains. Due to advanced handling equipment, high degree of mechanization and automation in ports, Port of Hamburg is also known as "Germany's gateway to the world" and "Europe's fastest transshipment port". Especially in the aspect of container sea-rail combined transportation, each terminal is equipped with perfect railway infrastructure, so railway transportation is highly efficient. As one of the three terminals of Hamburg Port, CTT has four berths and 14 container cranes. Currently, CTT is providing services for two Far East routes, one Mediterranean route and one Baltic feeder route of COSCO Shipping.

Hamburg has always been an important hub and distribution center for Chinese goods connecting to Europe. One third of the handling capacity of the Port of Hamburg now comes from China-Europe trade, meaning that one out of every three containers in the Port of Hamburg is from or destined for China. According to the latest container handling data released by the Port of Hamburg, in the first half of 2022, the container handling capacity of Port of Hamburg reached 4.4 million TEUs, among which 1.3 million TEUs were handled in the trade with China, with a year-on-year growth of 5.8%, ranking first among major trading partners of Port of Hamburg. The United States (291,000 TEU) and Singapore (218,000 TEU) ranked second and third, respectively.

Cosco already owns stakes in two of Europe's biggest ports, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium. Cosco Shipping also has a deep stake in the Port of Piraeus in Athens, Greece, and is pushing a project to expand the rail terminal at Duisburg, an inland port at the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary, the Ruhr River, an important hub for rail freight from China.


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