COSCO buys majority stake in Zeebrugge container terminal from APMT

APMT Zeebrugge
APMT Zeebrugge. Source: APM Terminals

APM Terminals and Hong Kong-based COSCO Shipping Ports Ltd, a subsidiary of China COSCO Shipping Corporation Ltd, have agreed on the sale of APM Terminals’ 76% shares in the APMT Zeebrugge container terminal in Belgium to COSCO Shipping Ports, informed APMT yesterday.

Currently, APM Terminals owns 51% in the facility, therefore, it has been agreed that, as part of the transaction, APMT will buy back 25% of the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) shares and will then sell them together.

APM Terminals opened the Zeebrugge terminal in October 2006 and later sold a 24% share to COSCO Shipping Ports in 2014. Now the acquisition will bring the Chinese state-owned company’s shareholding in the terminal to 100%. At the same time, it will mean the end of APMT’s involvement in the port industry of Beglium.

Further details of the transaction have not been disclosed. However, The Loadstar mentions the price of the purchased shareholding standing at EUR 35 mln. The deal is now subject to customary regulatory approvals, which is expected to take 3-4 months.

The deep-water Zeebrugge facility is located in Belgium’s second-busiest container port and has a capacity of 1 mln TEU per year. The terminal is equipped with 7 Super Post Panamax STS cranes to serve today’s largest ships, 2 dedicated RMG’s for rail operations, has 784 reefer plugs and offers feeder, barge, rail and truck connections with all parts of Europe.

“Our decision to divest Zeebrugge reflects our portfolio strategy to focus on long term core assets.  We believe COSCO Shipping Ports is the right long-term owner of the Zeebrugge facility and will continue to grow the port for customers, employees and the Zeebrugge stakeholder community,” stated Wim Lagaay, Head of APM Terminals USA and Europe Portfolio, based in The Hague, Netherlands.

According to APMT’s press release, COSCO, the shipping line operating the world’s largest fleet by tonnage, and its alliance partners have become the major customers of the port with a long term interest to grow port volumes.

COSCO Shipping Ports is a co-shareholder and strategic partner in several terminals of APMT, including the Suez Canal Container Terminal, in Egypt, and Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal (QQCT) and Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal (GOCT) in China.

Besides, as we wrote earlier, in October 2016 COSCO Shipping Ports acquired a 40% share in the deep-water APM Terminals Vado terminal project currently under construction in Italy.

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