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Rail News: Intermodal
Ports, retailers concerned about impact of Hanjin bankruptcy
U.S. retailers and port officials have been voicing concern over cargo delivery disruptions caused by the bankruptcy of South Korean shipper Hanjin Shipping Co.
Hanjin filed for bankruptcy in the United States on Aug. 31. As a result, the company has been unable to pay ports and terminals to unload ships filled with cargo.
Retailers are working to minimize the disruption, said Jonathan Gold, the National Retail Federation's (NRF) vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a press release.
"Retailers' main concern is that there is millions of dollars worth of merchandise that needs to be on store shelves that could be impacted by this," Gold said.
Some of the cargo remains in Asia waiting to be loaded on ships, some is on ships on the ocean and some is stuck at U.S. docks waiting to be picked up, he added.
"It is understandable that port terminal operators, railroads, trucking companies and others don't want to do work for Hanjin if they are concerned they won't get paid," Gold said. "However, we need all parties to work together to find solutions to move this cargo so it does not have a broader impact on the economy.”
In Southern California, federal lawmakers gathered at the Port of Long Beach on Sept. 4 to call for the flow of cargo return, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Ships filled with merchandise have been sitting idle at or near the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, according to the newspaper.
Hanjin's bankruptcy was threatening local employees' jobs and merchants' access to goods just before the crucial holiday season, politicians said.
"We want to make sure that American workers and American consumers are not going to pay an undue cost for mistakes that were made thousands of miles away," said U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.)
The South Korean government indicated it could issue loans to help Hanjin if the shipping firm can provide the necessary collateral, the BBC reported today.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.