While Hanjin’s finances are crumbling, it’s created a strange and unsettling situation on the high seas. Hanjin ships are currently docked offshore, effectively marooned as ports in Europe, the U.S., and Asia turn them away. The concern is that Hanjin won’t be able to pay port fees or crew wages — and that the contents of the ships might be seized by creditors upon entry to port. One captain near Japan was given permission to unload cargo, but his request for food and water was denied.And nothing might concentrate the minds of even the most technology-addled hipsters like spot shortages of smart 'phones.
Hanjin’s lawyers are scrambling to arrange legal cover, and global officials must instruct ports to prevent any humanitarian disaster on Hanjin ships.
Putting aside the very serious matter of crew safety, the bankruptcy comes at a crucial time for retailers and product suppliers. They’re starting to get ready for the all-important holiday season — and even small ripples in global supply chains can create product shortages and affect companies’ bottom lines.
“Those who have containers on a Hanjin ship right now are certainly concerned about getting their cargo,” said Mike Zampa, communications director for the Port of Oakland.
Samsung said an order this week by a U.S. bankruptcy judge did not encourage the Hanjin ships to enter U.S. ports as intended, which the company blamed on a misunderstanding of maritime law, the bankruptcy code and Korean law.Yes, and with just-in-time logistics, Christmas packages are enroute to the docks or at sea. Isn't the existence of inventories of unsold goods one of the warnings of a recession? "But if the larger problem is that the world wants fewer computers and clothes, there may be a lot more ships — and their parent companies — stranded at sea."
The maker of electronic goods including Galaxy smartphones said the judge should issue an order barring the seizure of ships and allow it and other cargo owners to retrieve their goods by paying cargo handlers, who have been demanding payment guarantees.
We have much to look forward to.