Liner Shipping

Hanjin box offloadings begin, some with ‘deliberate’ damage

The good news: Some containers are being offloaded at U.S. East Coast port facilities from vessels of ill-fated South Korean ocean carrier Hanjin Shipping Co. Now the bad news: At least a few of those boxes are being subjected to apparently intentional damage in the offloading process, according to one importer. With details generalized due to concerns of the beneficial cargo owner, the American Journal of Transportation today [Friday, Sept. 16] received a report that two containers of frozen fish offloaded from a Hanjin ship in the past week at an East Coast terminal had “crunched” doors and other highly unusual exterior damage. “It looks like it was deliberate,” said the president of the seafood import company, speaking on condition of anonymity. Based on the condition of the product within, he determined that the damage could not have taken place during loading or in transit. “I think the only conclusion you could draw is it happened at offload,” he said. “I think they deliberately took these containers and played with them. I don’t know if they [dockworkers] got the directive to be rough with these containers because they [International Longshoremen’s Association laborers] are not getting paid or what. “It is certainly weird and out of character,” the seafood company president said, noting that he has never before encountered an incident of such damage on discharged containers over the decades his firm has been importing shipments on vessels of the South Korean firm. Financially troubled Hanjin filed for court receivership Aug. 31, and, more than two weeks later, a South Korean court has approved release of as much as $10 million to go toward working Hanjin vessels at U.S. ports. Numerous cargo-filled Hanjin ships remain at sea, leaving shippers such as the seafood importer in the lurch. The seafood company president and his firm still has several boxes on at-sea Hanjin vessels, with no indication as to when or if those shipments will get to U.S. port. He noted that, in many cases, shippers pay for product in advance and/or use inbound inventory as collateral for borrowing, meaning financial implications for his company others in the same proverbial boat. “Any delay just keeps the meter running at the bank,” he said. So the waiting game continues, with beneficial cargo owners hoping to get their shipments – soon and in good shape.
Paul Scott Abbott
Paul Scott Abbott


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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.
A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.
Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.
A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.

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