Following yesterday’s announcement that Cosco Shipping Ports will take a 24.9% stake in a Hamburg terminal, it has emerged that Cosco Shipping Logistics (CSL) quietly sold a 30% stake in Duisburg Gateway Terminal (DGT) in June.

Scheduled for completion in mid-2023, the DGT trimodal terminal is set to be the largest hinterland box facility in Europe, at 235,000 sq metres, fuelled by hydrogen.

News of the June share sale was released on Tuesday and port spokesman Andreas Bartel confirmed the deal, adding: “This acquisition [by Duisburger Hafen] was not kept secret, but neither was it actively communicated.”

He added: “No company or other institution from China is involved in the port of Duisburg or its infrastructures, which are exclusively owned by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Duisburg.“

DGT’s article of activation, dated October 2019, shows CSL involved with the project since its inception, with Xiaoyun Wang, MD of CSL (Europe), named in the document.

But despite its 30% stake, no obvious effort had been made publicly to draw attention to CSL’s involvement, including in a March ground-breaking ceremony in which no Cosco representatives were involved.

A few months later, in June, Cosco sold its share and a July list of shareholders shows a 60% holding by Duisberger Port (Duisburger Hafen), 20% by Switzerland’s Hupac and 20% by The Netherlands’ HTS Intermodal.

News of CSL’s retreat, however, was not publicised until this week. According to local news reports, DGT and Duisburger Hafen saying only it had been agreed not to disclose the reason behind the sale. And Duisberger Hafen said the deal would not affect the terminal’s timeline for completion.

The involvement of Cosco in another agreement, at Hamburg’s Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT), has been a political football in Germany in recent months, with climate and economy minister Robert Habeck saying last month he was “disinclined to allow the acquisition to take place”. However, following an intervention by German chancellor Olaf Scholz this week, a compromise deal has been brokered, limiting Cosco to just a 24.9% stake in CTT.

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