South Korea moves to minimize disruption from shipper's woes

Whether Hanjin can fend off ship seizures will depend on the jurisdictions involved, lawyers said. Hanjin has 141 ships, of which 128 are operating.

Under the chapter 15 bankruptcy code, Hanjin creditors will not be able to seize the company's overseas assets including in the US.

Hanjin's bankruptcy would be by far the largest in the history of container-shipping, which is suffering from its worst downturn in six decades.

Hanjin last week filed for receivership after attempts to raise fresh funding for the indebted firm failed.

A company spokeswoman, Park Eun-hye, confirmed Hanjin was moving to protect its assets but refused to specify in how many countries, beyond the USA and South Korea.

Drewry Maritime Research said in a note on Monday it was hard to see how Hanjin can survive as customers look for alternative carriers.

Hanjin struggled with debts and losses for years.

Hanjin vessels are now carrying cargo worth 16 trillion won ($14.5 billion) belonging to some 8,300 cargo owners, the Korea International Trade Association said, adding that the carrier has unpaid bills amounting to 610 billion won.

Hanjin Shipping, Korea's largest shipping company, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the USA, with more than 70 of the company's ships blocked, stranded and denied entry at major ports around the world and its creditors taking control of some of its assets.

The bankruptcy of the Hanjin Shipping line is already causing turmoil at ports in the USA and beyond; cargo continues to be delayed at the point of origin and cargo-laden Hanjin ships are unable to get into ports.

The LA Times also reported that the Port of Oakland terminal that handles Hanjin's cargo is continuing to unload Hanjin ships and will deliver loaded import containers to Hanjin customers.

South Korea will direct container carriers of Hanjin Shipping Co. put under court receivership to selected offshore ports where safe freight unloading can be guaranteed without any fear of vessel seizures, a government task force on the Hanjin-related logistics crisis said Monday.

Hanjin is likely to have more recourse against its ships being seized in countries which, like South Korea, have signed the United Nations-backed UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency, which include the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia, legal sources said.

Hanjin Shipping shares plunged 30 percent to a record low on Monday, ending 13.7 percent lower as trading resumed after being halted since August 30 when banks pulled support.

Hanjin accounts for 7.8 percent of trans-Pacific trade volume for the USA market.

Evergreen also said on Wednesday it had activated a contingency plan to stop loading Evergreen Line cargo on to Hanjin Shipping's vessels and would also stop Hanjin Shipping's cargo from being loaded on to its ships.

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