Hanjin bankruptcy causes global shipping chaos, retail fears


LOS ANGELES — The bankruptcy of the Hanjin Shipping container ship company has caused global transportation chaos, with gigantic container ships stuck and merchants worried goods they ordered may not reach store shelves.

The South Korean company filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday and stopped accepting new cargo. Ships from China to Canada have been refused permission to offload or take aboard containers because there are no guarantees that tugboat pilots or stevedores will be paid.

Port officials say three Hanjin ships were refused terminal space at California’s massive Long Beach container terminal. A fourth has been prevented from leaving until payment is settled.

Here locally, public relations officers for the Port of Huntsville confirm Hanjin loads are at the depot, stuck in the waiting game that affects global shipping.

Norfolk Southern has issued this directive:

“As noted in our Customer Service Advisory sent August 31, 2016, Norfolk Southern will no longer accept Hanjin shipments at NS facilities until further notice.  Effective today, September 1, 2016, any Hanjin shipment arriving at an NS destination will not be allowed to outgate at this time.  As a reminder, Norfolk Southern Intermodal provides 24/7 automated information services for shipment tracing, billing verification, and storage charges (including the Last Free Day) through our Touch-Trace voice response system at 1-800-497-2919. Customers and dray carriers can also utilize accessNS for information concerning their shipments.”

We’ve also spoken with local truckers who say since loads have been canceled, and for now no one can touch them, it’s affecting their jobs.

Ocean freight shipping fees between China and the U.S. have soared as much as 50 percent since the bankruptcy was announced. Experts expect the increase to be temporary.

Over at the Huntsville International Intermodal Center, PR officers say Norfolk Southern (the area’s biggest rail provider) is working directly with customers on an individual basis to handle the Hanjin cargo that is in limbo.