Korean Shipping Crisis ‘Will Impact Store Shelves’ Worldwide If Not Resolved


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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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The shipping crisis surrounding the Korean company, Hanjin Shipping Co., threatens to impact businesses and consumers globally by leaving more than $14 billion in products adrift at sea, according to reports.

Hanjin Shipping, one of the world’s largest container shipping firms, filed for bankruptcy in the United States Sept. 2, reports Market Watch.

Droves of Hanjin ships packed with over 500,000 containers were denied docking privileges globally, due to uncertainty as to who will pay docking fees and the cost of container storage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Samsung said it has in excess of $38 million dollars of cargo now floating aimlessly in the ocean, according to the Journal.

Experts from the retail industry say that while this crisis is not affecting stores shelves now, if it continues, it has the potential to do just that.

Hanjin currently has 43 ships en route to deliver goods and has “no idea when their cargo will be unloaded,” CEO of the maritime analysis outfit SeaIntel Lars Jensen said to the Journal.

Judge John Sherwood of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court granted Hanjin temporary bankruptcy protection in the U.S. This means Hanjin ships can enter U.S. ports without fear of regulatory officials seizing any of the goods on board the vessels, Business Korea reports.

Even if Hanjin ships dock in the U.S., no one knows for sure if they can pay the fees required to unload the cargo.

This crisis has left many ships adrift at sea for almost two weeks, and the amount of food, water, and fuel that ships carry on any given voyage is limited. Hanjin ship captains have said they are running low on all supplies, rationing water and fuel to conserve what little supply they have left in case the matter isn’t resolved soon.

Further adding to this pickle is the fact that the Korean government is assuring ports that Hanjin will pay the cost of docking and unloading, while Hanjin has repeatedly said it has no money to do so, the Journal reports.

Experts warn that while this may not be a problem for large firms, it could be a disaster for small firms.

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