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Risk in Context

Hanjin Insolvency – What Should Cargo Owners Look Out For?

Posted by Neil Pettitt 2016/09/14

Following the recent news about the insolvency of Hanjin Shipping, it is reported by Channel News Asia* on 9 September 2016 that the proposed cash injection by Korean Air Lines (Hanjin Shipping’s largest shareholder) has been further delayed. The situation with Hanjin Shipping is highly fluid, thus the commentary here is as current as it gets.

The size of the operation of Hanjin Shipping makes this insolvency unprecedented in the shipping industry. The previous largest shipper faced with insolvency was US Lines in 1986, who operated circa ships with about 100,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU), compared to Hanjin with more than 600,000 TEU. Needless to say, Hanjin Shipping’s insolvency is likely to impact a great number of importers and exporters across the world**.

Ramifications for cargo owners will be different based on their own individual circumstances, terms of purchase and sale, when the trade was agreed, dates of shipment, and whether they had carried out their due diligence and managed risk through appropriate and adequate insurance coverage. In respect of insurance, each cargo owner or Assured is most likely to have their own Cargo Open Cover with terms and conditions that are unique to them, and the recommendation is that these terms and conditions need to be closely examined. In addition the reaction by each insurer to this situation could differ. There is therefore no uniform recommendation that could apply to all policy holders.

The immediate suggestion to any cargo open cover holder would be:

  • Engage with your freight forwarder to understand if this shipping line is being used to carry your cargo and what may have already been entrusted to them and is currently in their care custody or control. Seek full details of such cargoes and details on where goods are likely to be discharged and if the contract(s) of affreightment are to be terminated, and what arrangements are then in place to complete voyages.
  • Request that your freight forwarder seek and offer alternative options for different carriers for immediate and future shipments. Secure options that are available in the event of termination of contract of affreightment.
  • For Assureds that are purchasing goods on high seas on a back-to-back Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) contract of sale, seek additional clarification and negotiate the terms of purchase e.g., name of the conveying vessel before committing to the agreement to buy.
  • As soon as you become aware of any issue where cargo could be carried by this shipper, advise your broker immediately.

The magnitude of Hanjin Shipping and their insolvency is impacting a great number of cargo owners. As a result Marsh is currently conducting a thorough review of cargo policies arranged by us to ensure that the basic terms and conditions stay relevant and are current enough to meet market developments.

References

*http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/korean-air-delays-funding-decision-for-hanjin-shipping/3113470.html

**http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/31/hanjin-shipping-vessel-unable-to-dock-at-south-korea-port-yonhap.html

- http://www.wsj.com/articles/troubled-hanjin-shipping-to-sell-healthy-assets-to-rival-1472611190

- https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/02/hanjin-shipping-bankruptcy-causes-turmoil-in-global-sea-freight

Related to:  Marine , Cargo , Cargo

Neil  Pettitt

Vice President, Cargo Practice

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