Interesting article by Andy Charters of Grant Thornton
"The recent bankruptcy of South Korea's largest shipping liner has served as a dramatic illustration that imbalances in the global shipping market are no longer sustainable. Can the industry restructure or are further collapses inevitable?
On 31 August 2016, Hanjin Shipping – the world's seventh largest container carrier by capacity – filed for receivership in South Korea. Burdened with US$5.5 billion in debt, and having failed to push through a consensual restructuring with creditors in April, Hanjin's collapse was not entirely unforeseen. Nevertheless, such a major shipping bankruptcy, particularly given that Hanjin reportedly facilitates nearly 8% of annual trans-Pacific trade for the United States, has sent shockwaves throughout global shipping and logistics markets. Immediate impacts of Hanjin Shipping collapse. The ripple effects of Hanjin's failure have been immediate and wide-ranging. Ports across the globe, lacking confidence that the company has the resources to pay docking fees, rejected Hanjin vessels and their cargoes. As a consequence, dozens of container ships were stranded outside major seaports in possession of some US$14 billion worth of undelivered cargo. The most immediate impact is therefore being felt by those companies whose supply chain has been interrupted". (Read more below)
These parties' priority will be to secure continuation of supply to limit losses arising from lost production or sale. Once the initial crisis management period passes, stakeholders will face difficulties quantifying their losses and this has the potential to result in significant multi-jurisdictional disputes. Looking at the wider shipping industry, it is clear that many direct competitors of Hanjin will benefit in the short term. However, there will also be a large number of counterparties who will have to acknowledge losses as a result of the collapse, and this will only add to an already complicated financial picture for them. This is particularly true for those parties who will now need to fix vessels anew, but will have to do so at market rates well below those under existing agreements with Hanjin.