Port financial system: “What is the added value for Hamburg?” | EUROtoday

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Hamburg Port financial system

“What is the added value for Hamburg?”

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At the end of February, Hamburg port workers demonstrated against MSC's entry into HHLA At the end of February, Hamburg port workers demonstrated against MSC's entry into HHLA

At the tip of February, Hamburg port employees demonstrated in opposition to MSC's entry into HHLA

Source: dpa

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Two citizen committees are coping with the deliberate entry of the world's largest transport firm MSC into HHLA. Many questions stay unanswered on this advanced enterprise. But it additionally turns into clear how far Hamburg's port has fallen behind the competitors.

SSeven specialists have been out there to reply questions from members of the Hamburg parliament for a number of hours on Wednesday. The committees for economics and innovation and for public enterprises invited folks to the listening to. Numerous detailed questions have been mentioned, which present that many questions are or could possibly be unanswered relating to this historic transaction for Hamburg. The specialists have been urged by the SPD, Greens, CDU and Left factions.

The red-green Senate desires the world's largest transport firm MSC from Italy, which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to take a stake of as much as 49.9 p.c within the metropolis's HHLA. The port employees, particularly at HHLA, and the opposition within the residents – particularly the CDU, Left and FDP – are vehemently in opposition to this enterprise. All those that reject it worry a “sell-out” of Hamburg’s pursuits and a attainable risk to many roles at HHLA.

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Container cranes in the port of Hamburg

Brand letter from the financial system

MSC, in flip, desires to convey a further million container items (TEU) of cargo to Hamburg by the start of the following decade, make investments along with town within the port and HHLA and construct a brand new German headquarters for a number of hundred staff in HafenCity.

It additionally turned clear on the listening to how far Hamburg has fallen behind in Northern European port competitors up to now 15 years for the reason that international monetary market disaster – as a result of self-made errors within the Hanseatic metropolis in addition to an absence of federal help for German seaports. Hamburg has hardly modernized its container terminals in recent times, in contrast to the terminal operators in Rotterdam or Antwerp. There have additionally been no new improvement tasks for logistics areas or industrial settlements within the port for a very long time.

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Container handling in the port of Hamburg – the good years are long gone

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The chemical tanker “MT Chemical Challenger” is the first such ship in the world to be retrofitted with sails as auxiliary propulsion in the port of Rotterdam

The former SPD parliamentary consultant and monetary entrepreneur Joachim Seeler, whom the left-wing faction nominated as an knowledgeable, is a declared opponent of the enterprise. “Can all these problems be solved by involving MSC? Hamburg is thus significantly withdrawing its responsibility for HHLA and the port,” mentioned Seeler about MSC’s deliberate participation in HHLA. “You are not creating competition here, but the opposite. For example, MSC could have been involved in the operation of the Burchardkai terminal,” mentioned Seeler. That would have corresponded to the earlier mechanics of corporations collaborating in Hamburg port terminals: the transport firm Hapag-Lloyd on the Altenwerder terminal, China's state transport firm Cosco at Tollerort, the metal firm Salzgitter on the Hansa Port bulk terminal. However, an funding on the holding degree in HHLA has a totally new high quality: “But what does that mean with regard to the other shipping companies? In the end, what is the added value for Hamburg?”

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The HHLA Altenwerder container terminal in the port of Hamburg

In precept, a partnership between town of Hamburg and the transport firm MSC within the deliberate holding Port of Hamburg just isn’t a collaboration on equal phrases. The shares in HHLA might be held within the new holding firm. The holding firm may have a board of administrators with out worker participation, in contrast to the HHLA supervisory board itself. “Hamburg is bitterly poor compared to MSC,” mentioned Seeler. “Any future capital increase at HHLA will be paid by MSC from petty cash.” The metropolis’s deliberate majority of fifty.1 p.c in HHLA says “nothing at all.” Instead, essential questions corresponding to funding plans must be clarified unanimously based mostly on the longer term statutes at Port of Hamburg.

Tim Power from the British maritime consulting firm Drewry, invited by the SPD parliamentary group, identified that container dealing with in Europe's second largest port of Antwerp had been massively superior by MSC's participation within the terminals there – particularly as a result of MSC Antwerp's location the Scheldt was used far inland. In Hamburg the situations have been akin to these on the lengthy journey throughout the Elbe. It is due to this fact conceivable, mentioned Power, that MSC might additionally considerably advance the Port of Hamburg: “The Northern European market is highly competitive. MSC is not only interested in terminals, but also in hinterland transport.”

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Nils Kahn, head of MSC for Germany, in the shipping company's previous office building in Hamburg's Speicherstadt

Gunther Bonz, the previous state councilor within the financial authority and long-time president of the Port of Hamburg Business Association (UVHH), can also be a declared opponent of MSC's entry into HHLA. He cited numerous causes in opposition to the Senate's gross sales plans – from a purchase order value that was too low to the query of the place MSC would pay taxes on its dividends from HHLA sooner or later. This will most likely be extra the case within the low-tax paradise of Cyprus than in Hamburg, urged Bonz, who can also be president of the European port operators affiliation FEPORT. Basically, he criticized the mechanics of the enterprise: “Nowhere in Europe are shipowners involved in large terminal operators such as Hutchison or PSA at the holding level, but only at the terminal level.”

Kai Gerullis from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, invited by the Greens, mentioned: “The port of Hamburg needs more competition. In Rotterdam and Hamburg there is intense competition between several international terminal operators. However, MSC’s entry into HHLA alone does not lead to more competition; other investments must follow.”

Laura Pooth, the chairwoman of the DGB North, invited by the SPD, defined why the staff reject MSC's entry into HHLA: “Does the assurance of job security last beyond the five years that have now been agreed? MSC is a less than transparent family business that does not disclose its figures and is not characterized by any culture of co-determination.” Separating particular person firm areas corresponding to container restore at HHLA or the freight rail firm Metrans from HHLA and integrating them into MSC “is absolutely to be avoided”. Instead of MSC getting concerned, “a North German seaport concept” is required.

However, the maritime business has been discussing such an idea for years – with none success for Hamburg or different northern German seaports. A attainable cooperation between the North German container terminals of HHLA and its competitor Eurogate was not realized even after lengthy negotiations between their homeowners and administration. The idea of a “Deutsche Bucht” holding firm for the joint operation of container terminals remained a obscure concept.

The largest German transport firm Hapag-Lloyd in Hamburg additionally didn’t put money into HHLA. Hamburg has a 14 p.c stake in Hapag-Lloyd. At the start of the final decade, town was a part of a consortium that helped safe Hapag-Lloyd's independence in opposition to a hostile takeover. Hapag-Lloyd wished to hitch HHLA and wished to have a majority to take action. This, in flip, is out of the query for the red-green Senate – nearly all of HHLA ought to stay in Hamburg's arms in the long run.

https://www.welt.de/regionales/hamburg/article250435816/Hafenwirtschaft-Was-ist-der-Mehrwert-fuer-Hamburg.html