Berlin green lights COSCO’s Hamburg terminal investment 

After much deliberation, Berlin has green lighted COSCO’s purchase of a minority shareholding of a terminal in Hamburg, a decision that has been many months in the making and sparked considerable debate in Germany about Chinese state firms buying into national infrastructure. 

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA) has welcomed the decision of the German government to finally approve the 24.9% minority shareholding of COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSPL) in Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT), saying the investment will now allow the terminal to expand. The transaction will be finalised soon, HHLA stated yesterday. 

COSCO had originally planned to take a 35% stake in the terminal, but the deal fell through after several ministries expressed concerns about critical infrastructure falling into foreign hands. The compromised deal to buy a 24.9% stake would see COSCO not gain any exclusive rights to the terminal or access to strategic know-how.

Commenting on the protracted investment saga via LinkedIn last month, Lars Jensen, who heads up container advisory Vespucci Maritime, said Chinese companies will increasingly be placed under scrutiny for port infrastructure investments notably in Europe and the US. And this, he suggested, is likely to be reciprocated.

“This in turn can create new market opportunities for companies unaffiliated with either China or the US or Europe,” Jensen said, listing brands such as PSA, DP World, and ICTSI.

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