- It's been more than a month since Hanjin first filed for bankruptcy, sparking a frenzy across the supply chain as shippers were forced to deal with stranded cargo, among other headaches.
- Now, the after effects of the bankruptcy are becoming apparent: The Wall Street Journal reported empty containers are piling up in ports with no-one to take them back. The pile-up has even caused some chassis to be trapped under abandoned containers, rendering them unusable.
- In addition, an American Shipper analysis shows maritime capacity sank by 4.7% last quarter, or over 13,000 TEUs compared to Q2, as Hanjin's competitors failed to offer replacement services in full.
Large-scale disruptions can have various indirect effects: This tie-up of much needed chassis as the delivery season moves into high gear signals bad news for supply chains.
Some solutions have arisen: the Port of Oakland announced it would receive empty containers at one of its terminals, while slow capital infusions have helped Hanjin pay for stranded cargo.
Part of the problem is that containers, while marked as Hanjin, do not always belong to the company and instead lie in a legal gray area regarding who is responsible for picking them up. Typically, Hanjin would pick them up or use them for a return trip, but as the company faces insolvency that is far from likely.
Ports will likely assume some responsibility as they cannot afford to wait another month to clear the containers, but transporting could actually cost upwards of $1,600 according to the Journal. The best case, but unlikely scenario, is for Hanjin to sell or arrange for clearing at affected ports. If the cost falls onto the ports or logistics companies in the area, part of the costs are likely to transfer to the shipper.