Shockwaves across global trade networks as Hanjin Shipping collapses
Hanjin Shipping, the seventh-largest container shipment firm in the world collapsed in late August after its creditors stopped providing funding and it was forced to request court receivership. Over $14bn in cargo was left stranded at sea, and shocked global trade networks were faced with unprecedented disruption. Container ships in transit at the time the news broke were forced to remain at sea for up to a week to avoid cargo being seized at the docks by creditors. While some ships were seized, ports all over the world were forced to deny service to Hanjin ships because agents refused to unload cargo because they feared they would not be paid. The company had no option but to pay for unloading, which has continued into October. Cho Yang-ho, the chairman of its parent company, Hanjin Group told a court hearing in early October that the Korean firm had reached the point at which it was no longer able compete sustainably against its global competitors in receipt of financial support from their governments. He said: “What pains me the most is that due to the court receivership many ship crews were in the middle of international waters like orphans. I am very sorry and pained to have created a logistics crisis, but we did everything we could.” The firm is currently compiling a plan for rehabilitation which it is expected to submit to a Seoul court before the end of the year. However, industry experts anticipate that in spite of its best efforts, the carrier will be liquidated in what will be the largest bankruptcy in the industry’s history.