According to sources, following a string of significant acquisitions in the ports sector, Hapag-Lloyd, the renowned German ocean carrier, has unveiled its plan to establish a dedicated sub-unit aimed at consolidating all its container terminal assets. The newly formed entity, named Hapag-Lloyd Terminal Holding (HLTH), will find its headquarters in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, under the leadership of the current Senior Managing Director for the Region Middle East, Dheeraj Bhatia.
Lagging in Port investments?
Historically perceived as lagging in port infrastructure investments, Hapag-Lloyd has been aggressively narrowing the gap through a series of acquisitions and partnerships. These endeavors have been instrumental in strengthening its global presence and enhancing its competitiveness.
One of Hapag-Lloyd’s notable investments includes a 25% stake in the CTA terminal at its home port of Hamburg. Moreover, the company has entered into strategic joint ventures with the Eurogate Group, encompassing key port locations such as Tanger Med in Morocco, Damietta in Egypt, and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.
In a bold move in 2022, Hapag-Lloyd acquired a full 100% ownership of the Chile-based port group SAAM, securing stakes in ten marine terminals across six countries in the Americas. The company continued its expansion efforts in January of this year, procuring a 49% stake in Italy’s Spinelli Group, followed by a 40% interest in J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Limited in India.
While Hapag-Lloyd has been actively pursuing its port expansion agenda, it faced stiff competition in the form of CMA CGM during its quest to acquire two GTI Global Terminals in New York and Newark. Ultimately, CMA CGM outbid Hapag-Lloyd in a notable contest for these assets.
HHLA or Eurogate?
In a development that could further reshape the dynamics of Hamburg’s port operations, an agreement was recently reached between Hamburg State and MSC. This agreement will see MSC become a 49% equity partner in the port operator HHLA, where Hapag-Lloyd is a prominent client. This move could potentially lead Hapag-Lloyd closer to its competitor Eurogate, which also maintains a substantial container terminal presence in Hamburg.
Hapag-Lloyd’s ambitious strategy to consolidate its port assets through HLTH reflects the company’s commitment to bolstering its global footprint and solidifying its position as a major player in the maritime industry. With these significant moves, the ocean carrier continues to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of global trade and port operations.
Sources: Hapag Lloyd, Alphaliner