COSCO completes acquisition of the Hamburg terminal stake

COSCO Shipping Ports and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) have signed a definitive agreement to acquire part of a container terminal in the Port of Hamburg.

As a result of the agreement, the Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned company China COSCO Shipping Corp. a 24.99% stake in one of three HHLA container terminals in Germany’s largest port.

The terminal is now to be expanded into a preferred transshipment location for HHLA’s long-term customer COSCO, where freight flows between Asia and Europe are to be concentrated.

“The cooperation between the partners thus strengthens the position of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as a logistics location in the North and Baltic Sea regions and Germany’s position as an industrial country,” says a statement by HHLA.

COSCO Shipping Ports received the green light to purchase the Tollerort terminal in October 2022. The final details of the transaction were not finalized as of January this year, but HHLA claimed the transaction will close soon.

The transaction stalled in April when the Federal Office for Information Security classified the Tollerort terminal as critical infrastructure and the state government decided to reassess the deal.

COSCO originally planned to take a 35% stake in the terminal, but the deal fell through after several ministries expressed concerns that critical infrastructure could fall into foreign hands. A compromise was reached that COSCO would buy a 24.99% stake as the Chinese company would not get exclusive rights to the terminal or access to strategic know-how.

This means that even if COSCO owns part of the Tollerort terminal, it still has no access or decision-making rights in the terminal.

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