THE COLLAPSE of one of the world’s largest container businesses has sent the immediate price of shipping containers soaring.
The Hanjin Group, which operates in excess of 100 ships and moves around 100 million tonnes of cargo annually, has applied in the US for bankruptcy protection to stop its creditors seizing its ships.
In the interim, docks across the globe are refusing to unload Hanjin ships, with confusion surrounding the official legal status of the business.
Ports have turned the ships away, unsure of Hanjin’s ability to pay port fees creating chaos in the sea-freight industry.
It has sent the price of shipping containers soaring over 25pc in the wake of the news.
David Johnson, new chief executive of Emerald Grain, said the Australian grains industry was lucky the collapse occurred in the off-season for Australian exports.
“I don’t think there will be a long-term effect on the industry,” he said.
“In the short-term, yes, there are issues with the availability of ships operated by Hanjin, but down the track they will come back on line perhaps with another operator.”
Mr Johnson said the Hanjin collapse would have a bigger impact on trade between Asia and the US due to freight routes and the size of the ships in its fleet, many not suitable for Australian ports.
There are currently reports a Hanjin ship stranded at Sydney’s Glebe dock after that Glencore Singpaore won an Australian court order impounding the ship over a debt.