24.02.2017 | Press releases

KPMG Law and KPMG advise the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen on the financing of Bremen’s ports in compliance with state aid law

KPMG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH (KPMG Law) and KPMG advised the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen on the financing of its ports in Bremen and Bremerhaven in compliance with state aid law. The European Commission has closed its preliminary investigation (SA.38875) into port funding.

Bremen’s ports are among the most important German seaports. They form an important port location on the North Range between Le Havre and Hamburg. The total result on the Weser in 2016 was 73.8 million tons of seaborne goods, with container throughput reaching 5.5 million TEU.

Since 2013, the European Commission has been conducting a Europe-wide investigation into the public financing of seaports. The European Commission initiated preliminary investigation proceedings regarding the public (partial) financing of the Port of Hamburg and the ports of Bremen.

In dialogue with the European Commission and with the support of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen has drawn up a reorganization of Bremen’s port financing. In particular, this provides for a clear separation of economic and non-economic activities of the Special Fund Port. The new divisional income statement is the basis for ensuring that the public tasks of the Port Special Fund can continue to be publicly financed. Against the background of the reorganization of the financing of Bremen’s ports, the European Commission discontinued its preliminary investigation into the partial public financing of Bremen’s ports.

Consultant Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen

KPMG Law Firm Ltd.

Dr. Arne Gniechwitz, (Lead Partner and State Aid Law), Dr. Antje Demske (State Aid Law)

Joachim Lahl (Tax Law)

Consultant Inhouse

Senator for Economics, Labor and Ports: Jörg Peters, Iris Kretschmer

bremenports Gmbh & Co. KG: Robert Howe, Sandra Prang



Since 2013, the European Commission has enforced state aid law when providing public funding to seaports. With the discontinuation decision, the Bremen ports have achieved legal certainty for their further financing. KPMG Law regularly advises aid donors and recipients in corresponding review and notification procedures, particularly in the areas of transport infrastructure. In 2016, KPMG Law advised, among others, the State of Lower Saxony in two notification procedures for the financing of infrastructure measures at the seaport of Cuxhaven.

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