One Hanjin ship begins unloading in Long Beach, while others are still anchored offshore
(excerpted from LATimes.com, Sept 10, 2016)
Full story: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hanjin-long-beach-20160910-snap-story.html
One of three Hanjin ships idled for days off the Southern California coast was allowed to dock in Long Beach and begin unloading cargo early Saturday, a sign that a crisis sparked by the Korean shipping company’s bankruptcy may be easing.
The Hanjin Greece, which had been at sea since leaving Busan on Aug. 21, docked at Pier T in Long Beach at 6:50 a.m., according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a traffic controller for the L.A. and Long Beach port complex. The ship is expected to depart on Monday after unloading.
The Greece was allowed to dock after U.S. and Korean bankruptcy courts allowed Hanjin to spend $10 million to unload that ship and others, according to Reuters.
“There are a lot of people suffering,” said Patrick Kelly, executive officer of Teamsters Local 952, speaking at a news conference in Wilmington on Saturday morning.
He said the situation has been particularly hard for truck drivers, as many of them are classified as independent contractors, not as company employees, meaning they cannot claim unemployment benefits when work dries up.
U.S. workers unload first of Hanjin ships stalled by bankruptcy
(excerpted from Reuters.com, Sept 10)
Full story: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hanjinshipping-debt-usa-ports-idUSKCN11G0X5
Dock workers began unloading furniture, clothing and other cargo on Saturday from a container ship owned by bankrupt Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd (117930.KS), breaking a logjam that has stranded goods on a dozen vessels bound for the U.S. West Coast.
The Hanjin Greece docked at the Port of Long Beach in California early Saturday morning and workers were hauling off containers of products destined for U.S. retailers, labor union officials said.
But ending the Hanjin shipping crisis could be a protracted affair. Port operators, cargo owners, longshoremen, shippers and others all must reach financial agreements with Hanjin before each ship can be docked, officials said.
Two other ships owned by the South Korean shipper were anchored close to the Long Beach port but as of mid-day Saturday did not have orders to dock, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a group that tracks cargo ship traffic. Union officials said nine others were floating in the Pacific.
On Friday, courts in South Korea and the United States cleared the way for Hanjin to spend $10 million to unload cargo from four ships headed to the U.S. West Coast. And on Saturday, shareholder Korean Air
approved a plan to provide 60 billion won ($54.16 million) to the troubled shipper.
While the unloading of the Hanjin Greece was underway, truck drivers had not yet been called in to transport the goods from the port for distribution to retailers, many of which are awaiting products for the busy holiday shopping season.
“At this moment, the drivers are still idle,” Patrick Kelly, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 952, said at a news conference on Saturday morning.
Shippers take legal action to reclaim cargo ‘held hostage’ by Hanjin
(excerpted from theloadstar.co.uk, Sept 9)
Some of Hanjin’s largest customers in the US have filed court requests to allow them to reclaim their cargo, amid accusations that the bankrupt Korean shipping line has resorted to holding cargo hostage as a way of “extorting” cash.
Samsung, Korea’s largest exporter of electronic equipment, said in its filing to the US Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey that the interim provisional relief order granted to Hanjin last week needed to be revised to allow the shipping line’s vessels to depart ports once unloading is complete.
Samsung hit out at the court’s provisional relief order that bars creditors from arresting a Hanjin vessel after it docked, but also prevents the vessels leaving the port. It said: “The requirement that ships not leave is effectively an arrest order, leaving both Hanjin and ports unsure whether ships will ever leave. Not surprisingly, no ships have docked and no cargo has been unloaded since the order.”
Samsung has requested the court revise the order to allow firms to pay third parties – such as terminal operators or 3PLs – to handle Hanjin containers with cargo still inside so their goods can be retrieved.
“This relief makes eminent sense, as it does not prejudice the debtor in any way and ensures that cargo holders – who are otherwise hostage to these proceedings – can obtain possession of their products in timely manner,” its filing said.
Samsung is clearly becoming increasingly convinced that Hanjin has little chance of exiting bankruptcy and fears its cargo could be stranded for a long time. “The debtor [Hanjin] has not yet demonstrated (or revealed to creditors) any ability to obtain financing to commence even rudimentary operations so that ships can berth and cargo be delivered.
“This lack of progress continues to result in significant damage to cargo owners, including Samsung. Given these circumstances, it is time for the court to impose an appropriate process to allow individual cargo owners to obtain possession of their property,” it said.
Meanwhile, Californian furniture supplier Ashley Furniture has also begun legal proceedings, accusing Hanjin of “extortion” by “holding its cargo hostage” to raise cash from Ashley, which has some 850 boxes in Hanjin’s possession. “Hanjin’s actions immediately prior to, and following, the 6 September hearing have made it abundantly clear that Hanjin is seeking to abuse the protection of the bankruptcy code and hold Ashley’s property hostage; and is making extortionate demands before agreeing to transfer possession of cargo to beneficial cargo owners,” it said.
It added that Hanjin had previously provided port-to-door services at an all-in rate that included terminal handling charges and inland haulage costs, and would collect the empty containers once they were unstuffed at Ashley’s distribution centres.
Ashley said since it was placed into Chapter 15, Hanjin had continued to charge full port-to-door rates but only delivered cargo to the nearest terminal. The line was claiming that the return of empty containers was now Ashley’s responsibility and that the shipper needed to settle “unpaid port and haulage charges”.
It claimed: “Thus, Ashley is being forced to pay twice for the same service, once to Hanjin and once to the port operator or land transporter.
“These unilaterally revised contract terms will force Ashley to incur substantial additional costs to retrieve its products from their current locations, as well as the costs of returning the debtor’s containers and chassis to the port, terminal or other location.”