| Sept 20
Sept 20 Failed South Korean cargo line Hanjin
Shipping Co Ltd has found the money to unload a full container
ship waiting outside a New York-area port. But there is another
problem: once unloaded, the empty vessel may not be able to go
back out to sea.
The predicament of the Hanjin Miami, one of 10 U.S.-bound
ships stranded by the Hanjin bankruptcy, illustrates one way
that disputes over ships, ocean containers and even truck
trailers to haul the shipping boxes have stranded at sea some
$14 billion of goods around the world.
Since filing for court receivership on August 31, the
world's seventh-largest container carrier has caused chaos for
many retailers at a time when they are getting goods for the
holiday shopping season.
The National Retail Federation on Tuesday urged U.S.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to find a way to clear up the
confusion. "The impact on small and medium-sized companies could
be particularly devastating if this situation is not resolved in
a timely manner," the group said in a letter.
Hanjin has the money to dock its Hanjin Miami, Federal
Maritime Commissioner William Doyle, whose agency regulates
international shipping, told an industry event on Friday.
But the Miami is not being allowed in port because of a
dispute about empty Hanjin shipping containers, which the Miami
normally would load up as ballast to exit port.
Without those empties, the ship "will not be able to depart
the harbor because it would not have the air clearance to
navigate under the Bayonne Bridge -- even at a dead low tide,"
said Doyle. Without a way to leave, the ship could tie up a
"There are so many disputes right now attached to empty
containers that the terminal is not going to load the empties
back onto the ship," Doyle said.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey declined to
comment, as did an attorney for Maher Terminal, which operates
the marine terminal in Newark where the Hanjin Miami is expected
The Hanjin Miami is currently off the U.S. East Coast, about
300 miles from New York, according to Reuters Eikon data.
The Bayonne Bridge, which held the title of world's longest
arch bridge for 45 years after it opened in 1931, presents a
unique challenge to Hanjin.
But other ports also are struggling with questions of who
pays for terminal charges and what to do with empty containers.
The complexity increased on Monday after a South Korean judge
told Hanjin to cancel its ship charter agreements and return
empty vessels to their owners.
In the wake of the decision by the South Korean judge, an
empty Hanjin Miami may become the responsibility of Reederei
NSB, which manages the ship on behalf of its owner, an affiliate
of Conti Holding of Munich, according to Reuters Eikon data.
A spokeswoman for Reederei and a U.S. lawyer for Hanjin did
not respond to requests for comment.
Port terminals, meanwhile, have stopped accepting returns of
empty shipping containers because they doubt Hanjin will pay to
"The Hanjin boxes are radioactive. Nobody wants to take
responsibility for them," said Mark Hirzel, chairman of the Los
Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association Inc.
As containers on chassis pile up in far-flung storage lots,
it has created a shortage of the trailers used to transport
containers on land.
Darren Azman, an attorney for Bermuda-based Textainer Group
Holdings Ltd said cargo owners and other Hanjin parties
are working out an agreement that they hope will normalize the
movement of shipping containers.
But U.S. retailers and manufacturers who own the cargo are
caught in the confusion.
Alex Rasheed, president of Pacific Textile and Sourcing Inc,
a Los Angeles-headquartered importer and wholesaler of apparel,
is anxious to receive $300,000 worth of seasonal fall clothing
in two containers on the Hanjin Jungil, which is waiting off the
coast of Southern California.
"We're going to start feeling the pressure unless there is
some kind of resolution," Rasheed said.
Hanjin's bankruptcy also has U.S. exporters that were
relying on the company scrambling to find alternatives,
including flying goods to foreign markets at a loss, said
"I've even heard about air transport of agriculture
exports," Hirzel said. "Economically, it's a guaranteed loser
... The only reason you would do that is to meet an order to get
a contract in the future."
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, editing by
Peter Henderson and Alden Bentley)