Stranded Hanjin Shipping vessels, including three ships anchored off the Port of Long Beach, were expected to start moving again after the bankrupt carrier’s parent company pledged $90 million in aid last week.
However, the future of the seventh-largest shipping company in the world was still in question, including at its Long Beach terminal, the port’s largest.
The same day Hanjin Group said it would provide a cash infusion to allow Hanjin Shipping’s vessels around the world to pay docking fees and unload their cargo, a U.S. bankruptcy judge also helped clear the way by granting the company temporary protection from its creditors.
A South Korean official said Sept. 7 that he expected the Long Beach ships to be able to offload their cargo last week, the Associated Press reported.
But Hanjin’s role at the port goes far beyond the ships themselves.
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners had a special meeting Tuesday “to discuss price and terms of payment for the Pier T Container Terminal,” according to the meeting agenda. The negotiating party listed on the agenda is Total Terminals International, which owns the Pier T lease and in which Hanjin Shipping Co. has majority ownership.
The meeting was closed to the public because it involves real estate negotiations. Port spokesman Lee Peterson said no action was taken, but confirmed the commission’s discussion involved the Pier T lease. The pier handles about one-third of the Port of Long Beach’s cargo.
Peterson said that despite Hanjin’s bankruptcy, “TTI is current in all of its payments to us.”
That hasn’t been the case for many Hanjin-affiliated operations.
Since filing for court receivership in South Korea, Hanjin ships across the world have either been seized by governments or left stuck at sea unable to pay docking fees, and the company has effectively ceased to operate. This has caused a domino effect, slowing global cargo movement.
Hanjin isn’t alone in its financial struggles; most shipping companies have been affected by a glut of ship capacity and shrinking demand. But Hanjin Shipping, with $5.5 billion in debt, would be the largest cargo carrier to fail if the company is dissolved.
The company’s efforts to extend its debts and sell off assets came to a head last month, when creditors led by Korea Development Bank refused to approve Hanjin’s restructuring plan.
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