MSC shipping acquires 49.9 per cent share in Port of Hamburg

14 September 2023
HHLA to become joint venture of City of Hamburg and MSC – shipping company to relocate its German headquarters to Hamburg

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is to become a joint venture managed by the City of Hamburg and the shipping company MSC, according to an announcement Wednesday (September 13, 2023). MSC will acquire a 49.9 per cent share in the company while the City of Hamburg will retain a majority of 50.1 per cent.  MSC will gradually increase its handling volume to 1,000,000 TEU (standard containers) from 2025 and by 2031 and has also announced plans to relocate its Germany headquarters to Hamburg.

Chamber of Commerce welcomes venture

Commenting on the announcement, Malte Heyne, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg, said: "The envisaged strategic partnership can be a decisive, liberating blow for the Port of Hamburg. It can generate an important innovation impulse for terminal operations and free up resources for urgently needed investments in the future of Germany's most important seaport." The majority share sought would facilate other strategic measures such as the addition of more partners in future. He added: "Hamburg's business community expects this latest course to be consistently pursued and the proceeds to be fully reinvested in the port."

HHLA's shareholdings to change

The City of Hamburg has held around 69 per cent share in HHLA hitherto. Following the signing of a binding preliminary agreement, MSC will submit a purchase offer for freely traded shares, at a premium of 57 per cent over the volume-weighted 30-day average trading price. The offer will then be submitted to the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority for approval. The investors' decision is pending the approval of the senate. The entire process is expected to last a few months, according to a joint statement. The partnership will last indefinitely, but at least 40 years.

City and MSC to advance development of port

The City of Hamburg will draw up a long-term investment plan with HHLA to create a solid financial basis for its development and that of the Port of Hamburg. This would make Hamburg a leading northwest European trading hub in MSC's global logistics network. "We are advancing the development of the port in accordance with our long-term strategy. To this end, we are joining forces today with MSC as one of the world's leading container shipping companies. We are driving forward the digitalisation and transformation of logistics in the Port of Hamburg, thereby securing value creation and jobs," said Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator for Economics.


Sources and further information

About HHLA and MSC

The listed logistics company, HHLA, manages container terminals in the Port of Hamburg as well as in Odessa, Tallinn and Trieste. HHLA's subsidiary, Metrans, has a broad network of rail connections to the hinterland. MSC has invested extensively in its logistics network in recent years. The company has also announced plans to upgrade its fleet of 760 ships and make it more fuel-efficient by 2027. MSC has taken over rail connections and plans to shift transport from road to rail. Its subsidiary, Terminal Investments, operates 70 terminals worldwide, for instance, in the Netherlands and Singapore.

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