Germany’s federal cartel office gave antitrust approval for an inland container terminal joint venture between the nation’s top two rival stevedores.
HHLA and Eurogate will each have a 50 percent stake in the new company which plans to establish a network of inland container terminals across Germany that will feed boxes by rail to Hamburg and Bremen/Bermerhaven.
“We shall be building state-of-the-art terminals in the hinterland, allowing large container volumes to be concentrated even better,” said Sebastian Jurgens, HHLA board executive for intermodal and logistics.
“Only by doing that [can] we boost opportunities for further switching [cargo] from road to rail. The potential is enormous,” Jurgens said.
“We must strengthen our competitive position vis-à-vis other ports in Europe,” said Emanuel Schiffer, chairman of Bremen-based Eurogate.
“Otherwise we run the risk that the hinterland in Germany will be served more efficiently from other seaports than those in north Germany,” he said.
The companies are expected to focus on major industrial regions, particularly the Ruhr valley which ships a large portion of exports and imports through Rotterdam and Antwerp.
Hamburg-based HHLA has a sizeable intermodal operation, transporting over 1.8 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2008.
Eurogate, Europe’s biggest container terminal company, operates an integrated transport network from Hamburg and Bremen/Bremerhaven to south Germany and southeast Europe.
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