Dear friends,

Our German union Ver.di is organising today a demonstration following the last developments related to the possible selling off of HHLA to MSC.

Please find below a solidarity message that we invite you to share, together with the flyer and the picture attached.

No sale of public property!

Our port, not your casino!

Stop selling off the ports – they belong in public hands!

Our solidarity goes to the colleagues of our sister union ver.di and especially to the colleagues at HHLA who are currently fighting against the sell-off of their company. We stand by their side and support them and their demands.

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA), a primary German terminal group present mainly in the port of Hamburg, has announced the intention of the MSC Group to launch a takeover bid for 49,9% of its own listed shares, while the remaining 50.1% will stay in the hands of HGV, a company controlled by Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH).

The German company is also present in Italy with HHLA Plt Italy in Trieste, where MSC already controls the Trieste Marine Terminal.

The Aponte family-controlled Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), owners of the world’s largest container line, already has a large and consolidated presence in Europe, especially in the Belgian port of Antwerp. This new strategic acquisition would encompass the whole HHLA group, including its rail logistics affiliates, Hamburg terminals, and container terminal assets located outside of Germany, in Tallinn-Muuga, Odesa and Trieste. The MSC bid will need to be approved at a state level.

Earlier this year, HHLA made headlines by selling a stake in one of its three terminals in Hamburg port to the Chinese shipping firm Cosco. China is currently Germany’s and the Port of Hamburg’s largest trading partner, with around 30% of its traffic flowing between Asia and Europe.

Vertical integration of shipping lines is a long-standing issue that remains a constant cause of concern to the union movement. The extension of their operations to port terminals, logistics, but also air freight and rail raises concerns about employment and working conditions, fair competition, service quality and efficiency. The announcement goes beyond HHLA and very likely have a negative impact on brothers and sisters in Hamburg Port and other German seaports. We will not accept this! We will fight for every job!

We stand in solidarity with our colleagues from ver.di and support their demands:

– No sale of public property. No sale of critical infrastructure. HHLA belongs in public hands.

– Collectively agreed protection and preservation of all jobs at HHLA.

– The dock workers’ pool system in Hamburg must be maintained under the current conditions.

– Retention of existing co-determination structures at HHLA at all levels of the group – from the works council to the supervisory board.

Instead of the ports working against each other, we demand cross-port cooperation and coordination. We must seize the opportunity to jointly strengthen the German ports instead of playing them off against each other and increase the competition at the expense of working conditions of all German dockers.

In solidarity,

Berardina Tommasi,

Policy Officer for Dockers