The increasing trend in purchases and sales in port infrastructure

Maritime assets are becoming increasingly crucial from a geopolitical and economic standpoint. According to the latest edition of the “Transport & Logistics Barometer” by the auditing and consulting firm PwC Germany, in collaboration with its global strategy consultancy Strategy&, maritime properties have emerged as highly sought-after takeover targets in recent years.

PwC estimates that shipping accounted for one in four deals in transport and logistics last year, including port infrastructure deals.

The increasing trend in purchases and sales in port infrastructure has been observed since 2015. 2022 marked a record year with 20 transactions recorded, amounting to a deal value of €15.3 billion. From 2015 to 2023, 74 deals were recorded in China (including Hong Kong) out of a total of 184 deals, with India following in second place. The United Arab Emirates in third.

PwC does stress that some European destinations remain attractive, as evidenced by MSC’s entry into the Hamburg port operator HHLA. However, overall, the importance of the Asian trading area is growing while Europe’s importance is diminishing.

There is a power struggle for Africa, with the leading global investors being the Chinese state-owned company COSCO and the Indian corporate empire Adani Group.

China already controls more than 20 ports in Europe, including Piraeus, Rotterdam, Antwerp, or Le Havre. China is increasingly securing influence as an investor in Africa. China is currently involved in 61 port projects across 30 African countries.