The shipping industry was shocked when Hanjin, the large South Korean ocean shipping carrier filed for bankruptcy protection leaving many expecting their cargo shipments in limbo.
Without the necessary funding, dock workers would not
unload the cargo and in other cases, creditors were threatening to confiscate
ships and containers if the ships entered ports. Making matters more
complicated, Korean Airlines, a major shareholder in Hanjin, indicated it was
unwilling to provide the necessary cash to unload the ships. Also, the South
Korean government also refused to provide the money. At the same time, other
ocean carriers were having problems of their own, leaving no one to swoop in a
pickup Hanjin’s assets. After a couple of uncertain weeks, a U.S. bankruptcy
judge ordered assets to cover the costs of unloading the ships and begin the
process of winding down the carrier since no suitors were in sight. This news
comes as mega-container ships are entering the global fleet and other mergers
are occurring between European shipping giants.