The agreement between COSCO Shipping Ports (CSPL) and HHLA on the closing of the planned sale of a 24.9% stake in Hamburg’s CTT container terminal to the Chinese operator remains pending. The two parties had originally agreed to a 35% sale, but the deal was blocked by the German Federal Ministry of Economics.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was in favor of the sale, later negotiated a compromise that would allow the Chinese state-owned company CSPL to acquire a stake of less than 25%.
On January 6, CSPL informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that despite the approval of the extended deadline of December 31, 2022, the revised agreement was still under review.
The company stated: “Despite the expiration of the extended extended completion date, the parties have been working to satisfy the no-objection condition and complete the transaction.”
HHLA the same day followed up with a statement, saying that the two parties were “close to finalizing the agreement for an investment in CTT.”
What would normally have been a rather unspectacular deal, the sale of a minority stake in Hamburg’s smaller container terminal, has turned into a major political discussion as newly elected ministers in the German government vowed to take a more hard against Chinese investments in ‘critical infrastructure.
COSCO Shipping is already the largest user of the CTT. The Chinese line calls at the terminal with ultra-large deep-water loops between Asia and Europe, with regional services between Europe and the Mediterranean, and with smaller-scale feeders in the Baltic Sea. Other CTT users include Unifeeder, Yang Ming, Hapag-Lloyd and X-Press Feeders.