Port of Hamburg will not fall into Chinese hands, HHLA tells German government


The Port of Hamburg will not be sold to China, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG’s (HHLA) spokespeople have stressed, in an ongoing spat over a COSCO bid into German infrastructure.

The stakeholder announcement follows the news of China’s state-owned COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSPL) investing in 35 per cent of HHLA’s Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) in September 2021.

Earlier this year Germany’s Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, disclosed that he was inclined not to allow the deal, as he argued the deal would give China a stake in critical German infrastructure.

Now, in its stakeholder announcement, HHLA provided an update to the ongoing process of obtaining the necessary investment law approval.

READ: COSCO’s bid in Port of Hamburg “pure business decision”

“HHLA is not aware of any rejection by six federal ministries,” HHLA’s spokesman wrote.

“It is incorrect to say that the EU has objected to the cooperation. The cartel law approval was granted by the responsible authorities.

“In the proceedings, which have now been ongoing for over a year, HHLA received no objective reasons that would indicate that the investment should not be approved,” the HHLA spokesman explained.

The firm clarified that as part of the planned partnership, CSPL will acquire a maximum of 35 per cent of the shares of CTT.

HHLA added that with regards to the Federal Government assessing the threat of Chinese access to German infrastructure, CSPL is not gaining access to the Port of Hamburg or HHLA.

IT and sales data also remain the sole responsibility of HHLA.

CTT is ultimately an “operating subsidiary,” the HHLA spokesman added. “HHLA retains sole control over all significant decisions. COSCO has no exclusive rights at CTT – the terminal remains open to container volumes from all customers.”

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