The bankruptcy of South Korean container shipping line Hanjin has thrown ports and retailers around the world into confusion, with giant container ships marooned and goods stranded aboard, according to press reports.
The company filed for bankruptcy on 31 August and stopped accepting new cargo. With its assets frozen, ships were refused permission to offload or take aboard containers because there were no guarantees that tugboat pilots or stevedores would be paid, reports UK newspaper The Guardian.
Denmark's Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping group, has laid on a new trans-Pacific trade route to help Hanjin customers and rescue freight.
“Right now, we are experiencing a lot of customer demand that we are trying to support,” Jakob Stausholm, chief strategy and transformation officer at Maersk told The Financial Times. “A lot of customers are seeking solutions from our side.”
A Maersk official added: “Customers want a company that is financially strong and so that is why they are coming to us.”
Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy has sent shockwaves through the container shipping industry, which is suffering from close to record low freight rates amid chronic overcapacity.
Hanjin is the world’s seventh-largest container shipper.