Hanjin bankruptcy leads to port disruption

The Port of Long Beach (pictured) is just one of many ports no longer accepting new Hanjin imports or exports. Credit: Port of Long Beach The Port of Long Beach (pictured) is just one of many ports no longer accepting new Hanjin imports or exports. Credit: Port of Long Beach

The bankruptcy of the Hanjin Shipping line is already causing turmoil at ports in the US and beyond; cargo continues to be delayed at the point of origin and cargo-laden Hanjin ships are unable to get into ports.

Further, cargo that has already been delivered is clogging up ports, taking up valuable space.

In Virginia, the state’s port authority has announced that its container terminals will not accept any more Hanjin cargo at Hampton Roads, and it is working out plans for dealing with the Hanjin containers it already has on site.

Elsewhere in the US, Port of Long Beach spokesman Michael Gold told the LA Times that its terminals are not accepting any new Hanjin imports or exports. This includes the port’s largest terminal TTI, in which Hanjin has a majority stake.

Mr Gold added that he was confident that another shipping line would acquire Hanjin’s stake in TTI if it was forced to sell and called even a temporary shutdown of that terminal “unlikely”.

The LA Times also reported that the Port of Oakland terminal that handles Hanjin’s cargo is continuing to unload Hanjin ships and will deliver loaded import containers to Hanjin customers. It is, however, refusing to load containers of US exports on outbound Hanjin vessels unless full payment is received in advance.

Other port authorities and terminals in Shanghai, Xiamen, Valencia and Savannah, among more, have blocked Hanjin ships over similar concerns that the company cannot pay port and stevedoring costs.

In the Philippines, however, port operator ICTSI said that the collapse of Hanjin Shipping will have minimal impact on its operations as the South Korean-based shipping company has limited operations in the country.

Christian Gonzales, senior vice president and head of Asia Pacific Region and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), told the Manila Standard: “Hanjin’s volumes and revenue contribution are marginal and all our accounts are up to date and settled.”

He added that there were “few containers in MICT and none in Subic”.

In an attempt to stabilise the container market amid Hanjin’s bankruptcy filing, the South Korea government has announced a number of countermeasures, including ‘one-to-one counselling’ with businesses affected by delays among Hanjin’s cargo vessels.

Furthermore, Korea Customs Service has announced that it will work in emergency mode around the clock, and provide simple clearance for cargo ships.

The laytime for loading and unloading goods at Korea’s ports has also been extended to up to a year. And, to make up for the tonnage lost with Hanjin, Korea's second biggest shipper, Hyundai Merchant Marine, plans to add four ships on its routes to the US and nine on routes to Europe.

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