Hanjin Shipping Co. has signed a contract to sell its stake in the largest terminal at the Port of Long Beach to Mediterranean Shipping Co.

A South Korean court announced the sale Tuesday, the Yonhap News Agency and the Wall Street Journal reported.

Hanjin, which was South Korea’s largest cargo container carrier and the seventh-largest in the world before its Aug. 31 bankruptcy filing, owns 54 percent of the company that operates Long Beach’s Pier T, Total Terminals International. Mediterranean Shipping subsidiary Terminal Investment Ltd. owns the other 46 percent.

The deal wasn’t unexpected, though MSC apparently going alone was.

The Geneva-based company announced this month that it was forming a partnership with South Korea’s second-largest shipper, Hyundai Merchant Marine, to acquire TTI, but HMM said last week it was backing out of the deal and may purchase a minority stake later.

MSC, however, said in an email statement Tuesday that Terminal Investment Ltd., HMM, and Hanjin were “progressing approvals for completion of a Purchase and Sale Agreement related to the Hanjin interests in TTI.”

MSC said it expected to finalize the deal by early January.

Hanjin is selling off other assets as well, such as its U.S.-Asia shipping route, which bulk carrier Korea Line Corp. is acquiring.

A South Korean court also gave Korea Line first right to purchase Hanjin’s piece of TTI, but MSC filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey to block all other bidders. It claimed that its subsidiary’s agreement for TTI gives it right of first refusal if Hanjin were to sell its stake.

Pier T is a 385-acre facility that handles about 30 percent of the Port of Long Beach’s cargo. The port’s cargo numbers have dropped in the month’s following Hanjin’s bankruptcy filing as the shipping line’s operations ground to a halt.

Managing editor Paul Eakins can be reached at peakins@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Pauleakins.

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