Hanjin bankruptcy may hit Central Washington exports

It is still unclear how the bankruptcy of the South Korean shipping giant, Hanjin Shipping Co, will hit the region’s largest exports, including apples.
The company is seeking protection from creditors in dozens of countries, hoping to minimize seizures of its assets. 

With the company’s assets frozen, its ships are being refused permission to offload or take on containers at ports worldwide, out of concern tugboat pilots or stevedores may not be paid.

In the U.S., a federal judge granted the company’s request to have bankruptcy protections from its proceedings in its home country recognized here. Judge John Sherwood, who is based in Newark, N.J., also ordered a hearing Friday 2nd September to make sure that creditors are protected during the bankruptcy.

Parent company Hanjin Group also announced plans to inject $90 million to resolve any disruptions in container cargo transport.

“We hope this doesn’t lead to an overall decline in capacity,” said Jon DeVaney, executive director of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. “Hanjin is a Korean company and we don’t really export apples to Korea, but they operate within the Asian region.”

If nothing else, DeVaney said, the bankruptcy is a reminder of the importance of adequate transportation for key local exports.

“That’s something that’s not under our control,” he said.

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