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Hanjin Dead In the Water

by Norris Comer

Hanjin United Kingdom

The containership Hanjin United Kingdom won’t be leaving port anytime soon.
(Photo: VanDerWolf Images)

The ubiquitous Hanjin Shipping, the largest cargo shipping firm in South Korea and who’s containers are a fixture of many global ports, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The move is a dire one for the firm, which received a $90 million bailout from its parent company.

Not only will the need to shift to other cargo shippers likely affect some US-based retailers, but concerns that the company may not be able to pay docking fees has left 85 of Hanjin’s cargo ships floating in international waters. These ships are unable to unload their cargo and some are allegedly even running out of food. Each ship produces a massive operating bill every day, and answers are scarce as to who is going to pay them. The clock is ticking for this orphaned fleet of “ghost” cargo ships.

Investors and clients will continue to wring their hands before the dust settles and somebody either puts these ships back to work or they get decommissioned. In the meanwhile, if you do happen to come across a Hanjin cargo ship in international waters, consider passing along a spare picnic basket to the crew. What is that saying about free lunch?

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