TranzAct Industry News

Hanjin Shipping Co. Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The Hanjin Shipping Company filed for bankruptcy protection in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Hanjin, which is the ninth-largest shipping line in the world, struggled with slumping global trade volumes and overcapacity, and was forced into receivership when the company’s creditor cut off a lifeline of $896 million in loans.  The company had previously been under a creditor-led program to restructure and refinance approximately 500 billion won ($446 million) in debt by selling assets and securing financial aid from other units under its corporate umbrella (Hanjin is a unit of the conglomerate that controls Korea Air Lines Company).

Hanjin employs 4,800 people worldwide, and had debt of 6.6 trillion won ($5.9 billion) and a debt-to-equity ratio of almost 850% at the end of 2015.  Its creditors estimated that it would need at least one trillion won ($896 million) in capital to repay maturing debt, pay shipowners, and avoid receivership.  As the shipping giant moves into receivership, freight brokers, forwarders, and shippers have scrambled to move their freight onto other ocean carriers.  The resulting capacity crunch has led other ocean carriers to levy surcharges on their rates.  Overall, Hanjin accounted for around 7% of Asia-U.S. cargo trade and operated a daily capacity of 25,000 shipping containers.

Currently, creditors are seeking to enforce maritime liens in order to establish a preference over other creditors.  Many marine terminal operators (“MTOs”) and railroads are refusing to deliver Hanjin containers.  Whether those MTOs and railroads will assess demurrage is unclear at this point. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has issued guidance to the shipping public, which is available at

TIA’s International Logistics Conference will monitor this issue and provide updates to membership.  For more information, please contact Will Sehestedt at (703)299-5700 or

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