Hanjin Unloads Ship At Long Beach, South Korean Government Promises Funds

Image courtesy of Todd Lappin

The sudden bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping meant that the company’s container ships were temporarily doomed to float around with dwindling supplies for their crews and containers full of your holiday gifts. Concerned that ships and their cargo might be seized, ports refused to allow them in. However, a bankruptcy court in the U.S. agreed to protect a ship arriving at the port of Long Beach, CA from having its cargo seized, and it was unloaded over the weekend.

The Hanjin Greece may have unloaded, but the unloading of at least three other ships bound for the port of Long Beach is still under negotiation. Another ship bound for Savannah has a warrant against it from some of Hanjin’s creditors.

Hanjin, a South Korean company, abruptly filed for bankruptcy protection in Seoul last week. Its ships floated aimlessly, unable to pay to have their cargo unloaded, and also unable to dock due to the risk that agents of the company’s creditors might seize the ships.

The company declared bankruptcy over about $5.5 billion in debt, but ships that are currently at sea have about $14 billion worth of other companies’ cargo on them. Samsung, for one, has offered to pay to have its cargo unloaded if Hanjin couldn’t make arrangements.

Between protection from a U.S. bankruptcy court and new infusions of cash from the South Korean government and the former chairwoman of Hanjin Shipping, ships that are on their way across the Pacific should be unloaded with no problems.

“South Korea is an export economy and the government needs to ensure the flow of goods to consumers,” the CEO of a company that had chartered Hanjin ships told Reuters.

Hanjin ship unloads in U.S. as fresh funds pledged [Reuters]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.