German Govt clears Cosco’s investment in HHLA’s CTT

The German government has approved the 24.9 percent minority shareholding of the Chinese company COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSPL) in Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT), a subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA).

Image credit: COSCO/HHLA

HHLA is one of the largest port operators in Europe and has a strong presence in the Hamburg Port.

HHLA welcomed the green light from the German Government and said that it would finalize the transition with CSPL soon.

“All issues within the scope of the investment screening process were clarified jointly in intensive, constructive talks,” HHLA said.

The decision will now enable CTT to be expanded into a preferred handling location for HHLA’s long-standing customer COSCO, where freight flows between Asia and Europe will concentrate.

China is currently Germany’s and the Port of Hamburg’s largest trading partner: around 30 percent of the goods handled in the Port of Hamburg come from China or go to China.

“CSPL’s minority shareholding thus secures employment and boosts Hamburg’s national and international importance as a logistics hub as well as Germany’s position as an industrialised nation,” HHLA added.

“HHLA is aware of its importance when it comes to supplying companies and consumers in Germany and Europe.”

The final green light comes on the back of conditional approval of the deal the German Government granted in October 2022.

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Initially, the involved parties had reached an agreement regarding a 35 percent minority shareholding by CSPL in Container Terminal Tollerort GmbH. The contract confirming this arrangement was signed by both parties on September 21, 2021.

However, the deal raised concerns and led to a heated debate, as various stakeholders, including the opposition and government ministries, expressed worries about national security implications. They feared that granting COSCO too much influence over the company’s operations could pose risks. As a result, in an effort to address these concerns, the stake has been reduced to 24.9 percent.