On the joint invitation of Port of Hamburg Marketing, HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation, Hamburg Marketing GmbH and the Hamburg Port Authority, together with the companies POLZUG Intermodal GmbH, TFG Transfracht GmbH and HHLA AG, a delegation of high-ranking representatives of Chinese logistics firms and port companies visited the Elbe metropolis from May 7 to 11, to exchange ideas on port and logistics issues with Hamburg’s captains of industry and representatives of the authorities. A visit to the transport logistic 2009 trade fair in Munich is also on the agenda.

The trading partnership between Hamburg and China has a tradition that goes back for centuries. For more than 200 years the Middle Kingdom has been benefiting from Hamburg’s exceptional situation in economic and geographical terms and from the logistics infrastructure that it offers as the second biggest German city. Above all, the Port of Hamburg is the biggest and most important transshipment centre in Europe for the seagoing foreign trade of the People’s Republic. One in three containers dispatched or destined for a Chinese port is now being handled at the container terminals of the Port.

“Hamburg is the leading seaport in Europe for trade with China. We are using this visit by a high-ranking economic delegation from China as an opportunity to make our guests aware of the facilities Hamburg offers as a port and logistics centre, and to intensify already existing business contacts,” Port of Hamburg Marketing Chairman Claudia Roller explains.

“We hope to appeal to Chinese companies that have recognized the expansion potential Europe has to offer, and are now looking for a suitable location,” adds Heinrich Lieser, Chairman of the Management Boards of HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation and Hamburg Marketing GmbH (HMG). ‘We can offer firms setting up a branch in Hamburg support for the expansion of their business,’ Lieser continues. “Our aim is to generate custom for companies centered on the port and at the same time to popularize Germany as a place to invest in, for which Hamburg is the logistics hub par excellence – the Hanseatic city is the gateway to northern and eastern Europe.”

Hamburg has long been known as the ‘city of the Chinese’. With more than 400 Chinese firms located here, a closely-knit network has developed on the Elbe. In political, scientific and cultural terms as well, Hamburg has become the principal Chinese base in Europe.

In order to pursue the aims of the host institutions and companies, a comprehensive four-day program in Hamburg was worked out, involving various port companies and logistics specialists. But Sino-German trade relations were not the exclusive focus of interest. A boat trip to the traditional entry parade to mark the Port’s 820th anniversary gave the visitors a feel for maritime style, as well as offering a spectacular impression of the world’s biggest port festival. Following the delegation’s stay in Hamburg, a visit to the Port of Hamburg stand at the transport logistic 2009 trade fair in Munich has been arranged for 12 to 14 May.

The delegation includes something like 30 representatives of freight forwarding companies, logistics associations, logistics institutes and other logistics service providers from Xiamen, Shenzhen, Shanghai and the Port of Rizhao, together with representatives of the administrative authorities of Hamburg’s partner ports Shanghai and Shenzhen. Only recently, in 2007, was a partnership agreement signed between the Port of Hamburg and Shenzhen, which is the fourth biggest container port in the world. Hamburg’s partner ports are represented by Li Xudong, Vice Chief Economist of the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, and Ma Yong Zhi, Vice Director of the Bureau of Communications of Shenzhen Municipality (Ports Administration of Shenzhen Municipality), ensuring that the meetings represent an exchange with Chinese decision-makers at the highest level.