Hong Kong-listed COSCO Shipping Ports’ new strategic alliance with Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA), a German container terminal operator whose revenue puts it among the top players in the segment, will further augment the throughput at the Port of Hamburg and expand trade between China and Germany, experts said. Terminal operator COSCO Shipping Ports is a business unit of China COSCO Shipping Corp, the country’s largest shipping company by market share. It announced it will acquire a 35% stake in HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) at the German port. The agreement has been signed but financial details were not disclosed. “We are looking forward to strengthening the cooperative relationship with Hamburger Hafen through this investment to leverage the complementary advantages of both parties and provide better high-quality service to our customers,” said Zhang Dayu, Managing Director of COSCO Shipping Ports. CTT is one of the three container terminals of HHLA at the Port of Hamburg with four berths and 14 container gantry cranes. China COSCO Shipping Corp’s largest container vessels with a capacity of 20,000 TEU have been handled there.
The terminal’s own railway station, which has five tracks, is connected to the hinterland, allowing goods to be transported quickly between CTT and other European destinations. As one of the most important trade hubs connecting Europe with China, the Port of Hamburg boasts great geographical advantages and impressive distribution facilities. It is also a key node of the China-Europe Railway Express freight train service, said Zhou Zhicheng, Researcher at the Beijing-based China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). Trade between China and Germany reached CNY858.25 billion in the first eight months of this year, up 21% year-on-year, according to the the General Administration of Customs.
As nearly every third container that is handled in Hamburg has its origin in China or is destined for the Chinese market, the COSCO Shipping-HHLA partnership will benefit Hamburg’s position as a regional logistical hub and reinforce its competitiveness in the Baltic region, said Dong Liwan, Professor of shipping management at Shanghai Maritime University. “Since many countries are confronting tough challenges caused by expensive shipping costs and container shortages, the partnership reflects COSCO Shipping Ports’ effort to build a global terminal network by expanding its current operations, which include five terminals in China,” he said. At the end of June, COSCO Shipping Ports operated and managed 357 berths at 36 ports worldwide, of which 210 were for containers, with a combined annual handling capacity of 118 million TEU, the China Daily reports.