It is a mecca of the shipbuilding industry: the time-honored “Hansa-Forum” in Hamburg, the premiere gathering of container ship investors.
For years, the proud German companies who created and sold closed-end shipping funds dominated the annual meeting. They were the motor of the global container shipbuilding industry, collecting billions of euros from investors to finance the growing cargo business on the world’s oceans.
Most of the investors came from Germany. The classic closed-end shipping fund, promoted for tax reasons, was more popular in Europe’s largest economy than anywhere else. Germans invested a good €30 billion ($37.3 billion) in these vehicles in pursuit of generous yields. In doing so, Germans invested in half of the world’s container fleets.