Full Hanjin ship can't dock without plan to leave

Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:01pm EDT
 
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By Tom Hals and Jim Christie

(Reuters) - Failed South Korean cargo line Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd found the money to unload a full container ship waiting outside a New York-area port. But before the vessel was allowed to dock, it faced another problem: a plan to get back out to sea.

The predicament of the Hanjin Miami, one of 10 U.S.-bound ships stranded by the Hanjin bankruptcy, illustrates one way that disputes over ships, ocean containers and even truck trailers to haul the shipping boxes have stranded at sea some $14 billion of goods around the world.

Since filing for court receivership on August 31, the world's seventh-largest container carrier has caused chaos for many retailers at a time when they are getting goods for the holiday shopping season.

The National Retail Federation on Tuesday urged U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to find a way to clear up the confusion. "The impact on small and medium-sized companies could be particularly devastating if this situation is not resolved in a timely manner," the group said in a letter.

Hanjin has the money to dock its Hanjin Miami, Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle, whose agency regulates international shipping, told an industry event on Friday.

But the Miami has not been allowed in port because of a dispute about empty Hanjin shipping containers, which the Miami normally would load up as ballast to exit port.

Without those empties, the ship "will not be able to depart the harbor because it would not have the air clearance to navigate under the Bayonne Bridge -- even at a dead low tide," said Doyle. Without a way to leave, the ship could tie up a berth.

"There are so many disputes right now attached to empty containers that the terminal is not going to load the empties back onto the ship," Doyle said.   Continued...

 
A Hanjin Shipping Co ship is seen stranded outside the Port of Long Beach, California, September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson