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Containers in the port of Hamburg: less high investments, but still many

Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa

More and more investors are interested in commercial ports and their transshipment terminals.

“Purchases and sales in the area of ​​port infrastructure have experienced a significant increase since 2015,” states the auditing and consulting firm PwC in a study of the transport and logistics sector.

“The transaction volume since then has totaled around 100 billion US dollars.”

The value of the deals announced in 2023 - as in the entire sector - fell significantly to $4.2 billion, after $15.3 and 11.5 billion in the previous two years.

“With a total of 16 deals, takeover activity in this area was still comparatively high.”

The analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are observing that the target regions are shifting: “Between 2015 and 2023, two thirds of the 184 announced deals in the area of ​​port infrastructure were aimed at ports in Asia and Oceania,” says the current “Transport & Logistics Barometer.” from PwC.

However, investments by foreign investors in ports and terminals in Africa are currently becoming more important.

“There's a real competition going on here right now,” it says.

While China is pushing ahead with the development of the “New Silk Road” and strategic investments in Africa, the EU is also investing in African infrastructure in order to remain competitive.

“The route to Europe could become less important,” said PwC maritime industry expert André Wortmann.

"In the struggle for crucial infrastructure, the EU must be wide awake: harmony in the global maritime system is crumbling, because key players sometimes pursue very different interests."

According to PwC, destinations in Europe also remain attractive, as highlighted by the entry of the global shipping company MSC into the Hamburg port operator HHLA.

The world's largest container shipping company MSC and the city of Hamburg as the majority owner want to run Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) as a joint venture in the future.

A minority stake by the Chinese state shipping company Cosco in a single HHLA terminal in Europe's third largest seaport had previously caused a stir in Hamburg.