EUROPEAN shippers have raised concerns that Hanjin Shipping's bankruptcy may result in just-in-time manufacturing supply chains and assembly lines being brought to a standstill.
Maritime policy manager at the European Shippers' Council (ESC), Fabien Becquelin, told Lloyd's Loading List: "The level of damage will depend on how the different industrial sectors organise their supply chain and, within a sector, on the professionalism of the individual companies."
According to Mr Becquelin, shippers from Europe would have to find alternative routes. However, he expects the trade between the US and Asia will be much harder hit in terms of pricing, noting that Hanjin had a 6.1 per cent market share on US lanes versus 4.3 per cent for the Europe trade.
Drewry said Hanjin has a market share of six per cent on Asia-east coast North America and a nine per cent share of Asia-west coast North America trade lanes.
"It explains why the (US) Federal Maritime Commission has said that they will monitor the market more deeply in order to make sure that any stakeholder does not exploit Hanjin Shipping's failure," Mr Becquelin said. "We think this is fair and we invite other competition authorities to have the same approach."
He said the primary focus for European shippers now was to find out the location of their container and take delivery of the goods, yet this was not easy because Hanjin was a member of the CKYHE shipping alliance.
A Dutch court has ruled that high fees of EUR1,000-EUR1,500 (US$1,125-$1,688) per unit demanded by one container terminal to release Hanjin containers were illegal and that normal handling charges, with some administrative fees, must be applied, according to Mr Becquelin.
He added: "It's clear that shippers will suffer from the [Hanjin] situation and all of the players in the supply chain must do their utmost to ensure the free flow of goods as much as possible. For all the cargo already unloaded, terminals must free the containers so that trade is not hindered."