4 Hanjin ships given immunity by US courts

After shareholders and executives associated with Hanjin Shipping Line agreed to pledge funds to pay port fees, the Hanjin Greece has loaded and unloaded containers at Long Beach this weekend. Three others have been given immunity from sezure in the US.

The container ship docked on Saturday after a US bankruptcy court granted it protection and terminal operators agreed to take the ship in. This however is a small victory among many problems around the world as dozens of ships are unable to unload. This has caused problems around the world with an estimated £10.5bn of cargo unable to be released to its owners.

A former major shareholder of the company Choi Eun-young pledged to provide USD $9bn in private funds to help resolve the problem “in which economic damage is increasing from the turmoil in shipping due to its unexpected court restructuring”. She will provide the funds ‘within days’.

In addition, the Hanjin Group that owns the shipping line has pledged to raise £60 million to release cargoes around the world. Korean Air Lines, the biggest shareholder in Hanjin, approved a conditional plan to loan a large sum of money to the shipper this weekend.

Several ships are now anchored off ports around the world under ship arrest for non payment of fuel and other charges.

How the crisis pans out in the medium term still isn’t clear. One question on many people’s lips is whether the seventh largest container shipping line is too big to fail as with banks, or whether it will be deflated gently and allowed to sink when its cargoes are offloaded? Those involved seem to be firefighting rather than strategizing and no clear course of action has been made public about their plans.

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