German Government Nears Compromise in Controversial Terminal Stake Sale to China

The German government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, is on the verge of a resolution regarding the contentious sale of a stake in a Hamburg container terminal to China’s state-owned Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. Initially supporting a 35% stake sale, Scholz now contemplates a compromise, reducing the stake to 24.9% to avoid a blocking minority in Germany.

Facing opposition from several ministers, including those overseeing the economy, foreign affairs, finance, transport, and defense, Scholz’s revised stance aims to prevent undue influence by Cosco on strategic decisions. 

The proposed compromise addresses concerns about the Chinese investment, ensuring safeguards against interference in Hamburg Hafen and Logistik AG’s operations.

This face-saving solution, if approved by the cabinet on October 26, prevents a potential outcome where China gains significant voting rights. Scholz’s earlier support for the larger stake sale was motivated by fears that a failure to secure the deal might lead China to explore alternative harbors, given Cosco’s existing stakes in European cities like Rotterdam and Antwerp.