One of the nation’s busiest seaports will set aside extra room on its docks to accommodate some of the estimated 7,000 cargo containers with nowhere to go after the collapse of Hanjin Shipping Co., officials said Wednesday.
The financial fall of the world’s seventh-largest shipping company has wreaked havoc across the supply chain as retailers, truckers and cargo managers finally get ahold of televisions, apparel and other products stranded at sea for two weeks.
But instead of relief, they have found themselves with another headache – where to put the backlog of containers and how to acquire the chassis need to move them.
Now there appears to be an answer.
“I think within the next day or so, we’ll have issued entitlements to our customers to give them space to start storing these containers,” said Jack Hedge, director of cargo and industrial real estate for the Port of Los Angeles.
Hedge said some terminals already have started accepting Hanjin containers turned away by cargo handlers that didn’t want to have to store the hulking corrugated boxes in terminals where they create congestion on valuable land.
Los Angeles has been working with its counterpart, the Port of Long Beach, to create room for the glut of containers, he said.
Long Beach officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Normally, truckers must return the empty steel containers to the terminal shortly after they are unloaded.
The containers are among the billions of dollars in assets that are being disputed after Hanjin filed for receivership in a South Korean court on Aug. 31. A U.S. bankruptcy judge granted Hanjin protection from any more seizures in United States territory.
Many of those containers are not owned by Hanjin, but by third parties.
With a reported $14 billion worth of goods on Hanjin ships around the world, retailers and shippers are anxious to recover their goods. As of Tuesday, 94 vessels were stranded at sea or being blocked from unloading at terminals, Hanjin spokeswoman Min Park said in an email.
Three Hanjin-operated vessels have docked at the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles after the Korean bankruptcy court released $10 million to ensure four ships in U.S. waters could be unloaded.
A fourth vessel, the Hanjin Gdyina, is in line to dock, Park said. Nine other vessels operated by Hanjin remain in U.S. waters.
This week, the chairman of Hanjin Shipping, Cho Yang-ho, sent $35.7 million from his personal assets, and former Chair Choi Eun-young contributed nearly $9 million to move cargo.
“Ships are coming in, cargo is being unloaded and goods are making their way to store shelves,” said Noel Hacegaba, chief commercial officer at the Port of Long Beach, where Hanjin holds a majority stake in its largest terminal.
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