The German government has approved the acquisition of a minority stake of less than 25 percent in the operating company HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort GmbH (CTT) by the Chinese company COSCO Shipping Port Limited (CSPL), subject to conditions, stated HHLA today on its website.
Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board, declares: “We appreciate that a solution has been found in objective and constructive talks with the Federal Government. Our long-standing Chinese partner COSCO Shipping Ports Limited can acquire a minority share of less than 25 percent in the operating company of Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) GmbH in Hamburg, subject to the conditions imposed by the Federal Government. We will negotiate a corresponding adjustment of the agreement with CSPL in the near future.“
She said: “Following the necessary investment review as required for the acquisition of shares by companies from non-EU countries, we now have a result that strengthens HHLA’s future viability and secures jobs in the Port of Hamburg. We want to continue to successfully develop the business relationship with COSCO that has existed for 40 years.”
“Neither CTT, nor HHLA, nor the Port of Hamburg will be sold to China. HHLA will remain an independent, listed company with the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as its most important shareholder.” emphasizes Titzrath.
“With CSPL’s investment, CTT will become a preferred hub for Asian traffic. HHLA retains sole control over all major decisions. COSCO will not receive any exclusive rights to CTT – the terminal will remain open to container volumes from all customers. CSPL also does not gain access to strategic know-how, and IT and sales data remain the sole responsibility of HHLA. German law will continue to apply in all matters.”
“The cooperation between HHLA and COSCO creates no one-sided dependencies. Quite the opposite: it strengthens supply chains, secures jobs and promotes value creation in Germany. Smoothly functioning logistics are a basic requirement for global trade flows and prosperity. Progress and security only exist on the basis of cooperation, common goals and interests. Cooperation between the two partners also strengthens the position of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as a logistics hub in the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions and of the Federal Republic of Germany as an export nation.”
“Open and free world trade is the basis for a city like Hamburg. China accounts for 20 percent of global economic output, far ahead of the USA. A company like HHLA must and wants to maintain good relations with its Chinese trading partners.”
Titzrath said: “We do not turn a blind eye to human rights violations and the oppression of minorities, regardless of the country. Differences – however large – can only be resolved through dialogue and mutual respect. More can be achieved by working together than by working against each other. The solution to the major issues facing humanity, starting with climate protection, cannot succeed without China. Good cooperation in logistics also helps.”
HHLA and CSPL had signed an agreement in September 2021 according to which the Chinese company would acquire a minority share of 35 percent in Container Terminal Tollerort. The sale of the shares was subject to approval by the German government under investment law. Although both companies immediately submitted the necessary documents to the Federal Ministry of Economics, the review process dragged on until well into 2022. In August, HHLA and CSPL agreed to an extension of the deadline until 31 October in order to bring the process to a successful conclusion.