- A South Korean bankruptcy court ordered Hanjin Shipping to begin selling assets from its U.S.-Asia route as it works to repay an outstanding $5.3 billion in debt, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- The court will post a sales notice soon to allow buyers to draft letters of interest by October 28, with binding bids due November 7.
- Hanjin's assets for sale include some of its 37 owned container vessels, shares in U.S. container terminals and subsidiaries involved in transpacific trade. The Journal reports Hyundai Merchant Marine will be the first to consider a purchase plan, providing it does not endanger the company's solvency.
The latest news reinforces South Korea's decision to transform what used to be the 7th largest shipping line into a small regional carrier, mainly serving Asian trading lanes.
Hanjin's exit from transpacific trade will open the doors for other companies and alliances to expand services to this route. As another state-run company, Hyundai Merchant Marine is the preferred option for South Korea, but Maersk and the Mediterranean Shipping Company may act to purchase assets, if not the company, to increase their global influence.
Besides the vessels, Hanjin is the majority owner of two terminals in the U.S. West Coast, which would likely prove profitable acquisitions for any company looking to expand their services.