Port of Wilmington in waiting mode after South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping files for bankruptcy

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The Hanjin Baltimore container ship is the largest to ever dock at the Port of Wilmington. Courtesy of the North Carolina State Ports Authority.
The Hanjin Baltimore container ship is the largest to ever dock at the Port of Wilmington. Courtesy of the North Carolina State Ports Authority.

WILMINGTON – As the fate of Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s largest shipping company, is up in the air, officials at the Port of Wilmington are waiting for more details to see if there will be any local impact on the port.

Hanjin Shipping Co. filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, according to  The Wall Street Journal. That came one day after company creditors ended financial assistance. According to numerous national and international news reports, some ports have reportedly rejected incoming Hanjin vessels.

A Hanjin vessel left the Port of Wilmington late Tuesday night, according to North Carolina State Ports Authority Senior Manager of External Affairs Cliff Pyron. Cargo from the vessel is being stored at the port. But the percentage of Hanjin’s cargo that makes up the Port of Wilmington’s container storage was not available at the time of this report.

“At this point, we are working with all the appropriate parties to make sure their equipment is being handled in an efficient and safe manner,” Pyron said. “We don’t know how it’s going to impact us, yet.”

The vessel Seaspan Efficiency left the Port of Wilmington on Tuesday, Aug. 30, headed for Garden City Terminal in Savanna, Georgia, according to Hanjin’s port schedule.

“As far as the actual impact today, operations are unaffected,” Pyron said. “Longer-term, we are waiting, much like the rest of the maritime industry, to see how Hanjin’s financial situation unfolds.”

Hanjin is one of the world’s top shipping companies. Four other Hanjin vessels were scheduled to arrive at the Port of Wilmington in September, including the Hanjin Baltimore, which docked at the port for the first time in July.

At the time of its dock, the Hanjin Baltimore — a 983-foot long, 140-foot wide vessel — was the largest cargo ship ever received by the port. The arrival of the vessel in Wilmington was touted by officials as a boost in the port’s global trade. The ship’s container capacity was 63 percent larger than any other ship that has docked in Wilmington. It was the first of many such vessels that were expected to make stops at the port. The next arrival of a Hanjin vessel at the Port of Wilmington is scheduled for Sept. 6.

Hanjin Shipping is a member of the CKYHE Alliance that services the Port of Wilmington, Pyron said. The alliance includes other Asia carriers such as COSCO, K-Line, Yang Ming, Evergreen and Zim, which also share slots on the AW1 service at the port. There’s also container carriers servicing Latin/Central America and North Europe (Maersk/SeaLand and ICL) who call the Port of Wilmington, Pyron said.

This story has been updated to include other shipping carriers received by the Port of Wilmington.

Christina Haley is a reporter for Port City Daily. She can be reached at christina.h@portcitydaily.com or (910) 772-6306. Follow her on Twitter @TinaHaley8

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