Final Nail in Hanjin’s Coffin


Hanjin Shipping has finally come to an end after 40 years of operations, which saw the South Korean company reach the top 10 for global shipping.

Today (February 17, 2017), the firm was declared bankrupt by a South Korean court. Hanjin's collapse is the largest to hit the shipping sector and sent shockwaves through the industry.

Hanjin's demise was well-documented by the industry and was due to the global economic downturn affecting profits across the cargo shipping industry, creating overcapacity, lower freight rates and rising debt levels.

Operations of the seventh largest shipper in the world started to collapse in August 2016 when $5.4bn (£4.1bn) debt crippled the company.

It then went into receivership and applied for court protection.

The vessels that Hanjin had in operation at that time were stuck at sea, with no port accepting them to berth because payments could not be guaranteed.

Hanjin’s assets have been sold off ever since, firstly to try and save the company but now it’s a case of the court handling the liquidation process to sell off the remaining assets to pay back creditors.

Infographic: Hanjin in Numbers

Korea Development Bank, the main creditor of the dissolved Hanjin Shipping Co. and state-owned entity, recently put 10 Hanjin vessels up for sale.

Drewry estimate that there remains up to as much as 150,000 TEU of Hanjin-owned ships that is still for sale.

The consultancy stated in analysis this year that “with such a glut of containerships already available and limited demand growth, it is debatable just how big a market they can attract even at knock-down prices”. 

It believes that only the biggest and youngest ships are likely to have the biggest pull.

Drewry stated: “It clearly takes more than a few months to strip the carcass of a dead shipping line and we expect many of the former Hanjin ships to occupy the idle fleet for some time to come.”

Analysts agree that it is unlikely there will be another large carrier like Hanjin failing as its bankruptcy has a good chance of bringing global overcapacity in the sector down to a sustainable level.

South Korea is now left with Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) taking over as the country's biggest shipping company.

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