The protracted sale of Hanjin Shipping’s stake in the largest U.S. terminal has finally been approved.
After months of bids, doubt and backtracking, Wednesday (January 18) saw a New Jersey judge approve the official sale of Pier T at the Port of Long Beach. The 54% stake in the terminal will be sold to Total Terminals International (TTI) for a sum of USD $78 million. Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (that TTI is a subsidiary of) now operates both Pier T at Long Beach and Terminal 46 at the Port of Seattle.
South Korean company Hanjin, who were once the seventh largest shipping company in the world, filed for bankruptcy on August 31 2016 causing a global fallout across the supply chain. The bankruptcy had a detrimental effect on the Port of Long Beach, with cargo volumes dropping sharply since. Long Beach officials are seemingly placing their fate in the hands of MSC and TTI, hoping that the world’s second largest shipping company, and their alliance with other shippers, can improve the Port’s recent performances.
Reflecting on the sale, Lori Ann Guzman, President of Long Beach’s Harbour Commission said that the agreement “will help the industry. It will help this company and it will help individual workers”. Guzman went on to say that they want the Pier T to “remain one of our biggest assets”. Considering that Pier T alone brings in around $83.5 million a year, you can see why.
U.S. bankruptcy Judge John K. Sherwood said, “By not approving this deal, we all the run the risk that there is no money from Hanjin from this transaction.” The final decision follows a two-day trial, as well as a discussion in which Sherwood sought assurance from a South Korean judge that U.S. creditors won’t be treated unfairly.