Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Shipping: "Welcome to the Hanjin California"

From Splash 24/7:

Welcome to the Hanjin California
Frazer Hunt, a partner at Australian law firm Mills Oakley, taps The Eagles in charting the chaos sparked by the bankruptcy of South Korea’s largest shipping line.
As we enter the third week following Hanjin Shipping filing for receivership, let’s review how the various stakeholders handled the fallout following arrest of  Hanjin California in Sydney and whether there are any lessons to be learned before further containers are discharged from Hanjin Milano which remains anchored off Melbourne awaiting advice from Korea.

“So I called up the Captain…”
Hanjin California was arrested by unpaid bunker suppliers earlier this month after it berthed at SICT.  The terminal discharged some of the containers and since Hanjin would not be paying any of the charges, exercised a lien over the containers for the stevedoring costs and administration charges.  Consignees who had already paid freight were also required to pay these charges to obtain release of their containers.  Still, if you wanted your container…

Then it got a lot more complicated:  to secure return of container to the depot, Hanjin also required a deposit, bond or a solicitors letter of undertaking that the deposit would be paid on demand.
For a short period, the terminal also required security for the return of the container.  Consignees were then faced with the dilemma that if they returned the container to Hanjin’s depot, they would lose their security to the terminal but if they returned the container to the terminal, then they would lose the security provided to Hanjin. Fortunately, common sense quickly prevailed and the terminal withdrew their parallel demand.

“What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)… bring your alibis…”
Then the port authority got in on the act and asked the consignees to pay the wharfage costs that would have otherwise been paid by the vessel.

“There were voices down the corridor, I thought I heard them say… Welcome to the Hanjin California…”
Oh, your container holds dangerous goods?  While grappling with the delays associated with the procedures referred to above and getting Hanjin to answer the phone, you are then served with a notice from the port authority to remove the container and threatened with penalties if it is not removed immediately.  The notice then continued “You are invited to present information on any difficulties encountered in complying with the permitted time periods on the terminal which may be taken into account by the port authority when making a determination for the above alleged offence”.

“Mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice…”