The Chinese state-owned shipping company Cosco is allowed to take an interest in a large container terminal in the port of Hamburg. The German government has given its consent. The Chinese government has bought more and more interests in European logistics in recent years, including in the port of Rotterdam.
Cosco has a 24.9% stake. That is less than the 35 percent that the company initially wanted, but that offer met with a lot of resistance from the Eastern neighbors. The German government has therefore given permission to buy a smaller stake of just under 25 percent. With that smaller stake, Cosco hardly has any influence on decision-making.
It is the Hamburg Tollerort terminal of operator HHLA, the largest operator of containerized terminals in Germany’s largest port.
The European Commission is said to have warned the German government last spring not to approve Cosco’s investment. Brussels feared, among other things, that sensitive information could get into Chinese hands.
Furthermore, there is fear that the country would have too much influence in Europe. The EU wants to see China more as a competitor and become less economically dependent on the Asian country.
The Chinese government has taken an interest in numerous places in Europe in recent years. For example, three of the five largest container terminals in the port of Rotterdam are owned by Hutchison Ports, which is based in Hong Kong.
Cosco also has a terminal in the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. In the Greek city of Piraeus, it even owns the port.
The state shipping company was also involved in the construction of a large terminal in the port of the German city of Duisburg. Cosco has since decided to withdraw from that project. This is due to the commotion around the company because of its plans in Hamburg.
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