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Heaps of Hanjin Containers Clog SoCal Docks

The Hanjin Shipping debacle could soon come to the true ugly end for the South Korean company as courts are considering a sale, but for now abandoned cargo containers are a more pressing problem.

Because few have wanted to take the chance at not getting paid despite still doing business with Hanjin, cargo containers from the ailing company have had little place to go since the company filed for court receivership at the end of August.

Once terminals finally started releasing Hanjin goods for pick up, many weren’t allowing truckers to return the empty containers after unloading and truckers didn’t want to get stuck with them—though many have them piled up in their storage yards. Many of those containers have stayed at the ports and are starting to pile up.

According to the Orange County Register, as many as 15,000 cargo containers either owned or leased by Hanjin have nowhere to go.

“Some people were hinting to take (the boxes) out in the desert and abandon them,” Dan Monnier, a board member for the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association, told the Register. “It sounds cute, but remember (the containers) still belong to the bankrupt company Hanjin.”

There may be a plan underway to open a facility in Ontario where the discarded but still Hanjin-owned containers can be stored.

“This depot will put containers into a safe, secure location, which frees up chassis for use in the San Pedro Bay port complex during our busiest season,” Gene Seroka, CEO of the Port of Los Angeles, told the Register. “It’s an example of supply-chain partners stepping up to improve logistics in Los Angeles.”

Chassis shortage could soon be an even bigger problem also brought on by the Hanjin bankruptcy. Because the containers are idle in storage yards and many truckers don’t have the special trailer used to transport ocean containers, the containers haven’t been removed from the chassis and are essentially being held hostage.

In the meantime, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Hanjin’s South Korean competitor, is stepping up too. The shipper said Wednesday that it would turn its new Asia to U.S. route, which it started on Sept. 9, into an alternative for Hanjin’s services.