The Geneva-based container line MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg have entered into a binding Memorandum of Understanding with respect to a strategic partnership regarding HHLA Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG.

The world´s largest container line MSC intends to acquire all free-floating A-Shares of HHLA and announces the intention to launch a voluntary public takeover offer.

HHLA is to be operated as a strategic joint venture, with the City of Hamburg holding a stake of 50.1% and MSC ultimately holding a stake of 49.9%.

The closing of the MSC offer will be subject to regulatory approval, and approval by the parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

The news came to light today with both sides making announcements, and HHLA informing about the submission of a voluntary public takeover offer by the MSC group.

The intention of MSC is to substantially increase its container volume at HHLA terminals in Hamburg, beginning in 2025 and raising it to at least 1,000,000 teu per year from 2031 onwards.

In addition, MSC will establish its new German headquarters with several hundred employees in Hamburg. Furthermore, MSC and the City of Hamburg also agree to commit on a long-term investment plan to be developed in alignment with HHLA.

The deal would also see MSC expand its terminal portfolio. Through its subsidiary Terminal Investments Limited (TiL) MSC operates 70 terminals across the world, including terminals in Antwerp, Singapore, and Rotterdam.

MSC has also acquired Africa Global Logistics, a logistics provider with a strong presence on the African continent.

As far as its fleet portfolio, in addition to its 760 ships, MSC already expects to take delivery of more than 90 newbuildings over the next three years, including the 24,000+ teu Celestino Maresca class vessels.

MSC, chief executive Soren Toft, said “This deal not only expands MSC’s global reach, but also unlocks the trade potential for the City of Hamburg and Germany. As a family-owned company we are fully accountable to our employees, customers and partners. We employ a long-term view and this partnership is an exciting step for MSC to grow its long-term presence in Hamburg and Germany.”