Navigating the EU-China Controversy: Unravelling the Hamburg Harbour Investment Saga

On 19 June 2023 all attention turned to the Hamburg harbour in Germany, where the terminal operator “Hamburg Haven and Logistics AG” finalised a significant deal with the Chinese ports operator “Cosco Shipping Ports Limited.” This deal, involving the acquisition of a stake in one of the container terminals, had encountered controversy and public- and political opposition, resulting in a subsequent reduction from the initial 35% stake to a 24.9% for Cosco. The Hamburg harbour case study provides valuable insights into the intricate landscape of international investments and geopolitical considerations. This op-ed will provide a nuanced account of the case study, delving into the key actors, the rationale behind the investment as well as the German federal government’s decision to limit the stake, and tracing the origins of the backlash it faced.