Reklam
Reklam
Reklam
Reklam
Reklam

There's money in Hanjin fall - and here's how lawyers winkle it out

THE Hanjin bankruptcy has stranded cargo the world over, throwing up legal conundrums which defy laymen's understanding, but open fresh goldmines for lawyers.

There's money in Hanjin fall - and here's how lawyers winkle it out
23 September 2016 - 21:36

There's money in Hanjin fall - and here's how lawyers winkle it out
THE Hanjin bankruptcy has stranded cargo the world over, throwing up legal conundrums which defy laymen's understanding, but open fresh goldmines for lawyers.
So far, much of the US action has occurred in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of New Jersey before Judge John K Sherwood, who recently provided temporary protection from arrest for Hanjin ships, reported IHS Media.
London's Loadstar reported the court ruling that non-vessel owning common carriers (NVOCC), a class forwarder, can no longer be overcharged for moving Hanjin cargo.
Complaining that they were being gouged for services contracted by Hanjin; that Hanjin was refusing to deliver containers to Kuehne + Nagel, MIQ and Apex Maritime without being overcharged.
The filing called for Hanjin's contracted rates to be published so shippers and forwarders could obtain the same prices, citing an example in one case of a railway raising rates 78 per cent.
The court agreed that Hanjin must publish its contracted rates "in a readily accessible place".
There have been such complaints in Hong Kong where terminal operator Hutchison was said to be gouging shippers with fees to release their Hanjin boxes. Hutchison's attempt to do the same in Rotterdam was stopped by a Dutch court, which would only allow the Hutchison unit to exact a US$28 per box surcharge.
As yet, a court appointed Hanjin bankruptcy trustee has yet to be selected in South Korea as Hanjin is still trying to save itself. If and when one is appointed, the complaint level is likely to rise, say lawyers.
"The job of the bankruptcy trustee is to maximise the bankrupt estate for the benefit of the creditors," Susan Kohn Ross, an international trade attorney, told IHS Media. 
Every link in the supply chain may be asked to ante up, Ms Ross said, especially as money continues to exchange hands as cargo owners try to get their freight released in the wake of Hanjin's bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy trustee could target NVOCCs and shippers for money they paid for the release and delivery of cargo, she said.
The trustee could also attempt to repossess containers or freight while waiting for payment from Hanjin, putting container lessors in a legal bind, according to industry analysts and attorneys. 
That's in addition to the risk of Hanjin or its creditors demanding entire payment of contracts in which shippers have contracted to send a stated number of containers for a specified price, but send smaller numbers and pay proportionately less.
Some of the earliest legal concerns were over whether Hanjin or its creditors would try to force shippers to pay for not delivering the number of containers that were contracted.
Such shortfalls are usually unpaid, but Hanjin's desperate search for cash could induce it to sue shippers for all the payments agreed in contracts, regardless of whether the carrier shipped all the containers required in the contract. 
If it does, according to an estimate by SeaIntel Maritime Analysis, Hanjin could claim between US$40 million and $330 million.
That's why lawyers advise companies with ongoing business with Hanjin to invoke any available clause that allows for termination. Similarly, shippers and forwarders should exercise any provisions that excuse them from having to meet minimum quantity commitments.
There are more ways a court-appointed trustee for Hanjin's estate can target money it argues is due to the bankrupt estate.
"If the shipper ends up paying money to a third party to get his goods, such as a port, railroad, or warehouse, the amount diverted to pay the third party could still be claimed by the bankruptcy trustee as owed to Hanjin," said Ms Ross.
"Shippers and forwarders should withhold payment to Hanjin until the goods have been delivered," attorneys at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff wrote in a post described as "practical pointers" for those dealing with the "Hanjin headache"
Warned Ms Ross: "Container leasing companies also have language in their agreements which provides them with the right to repossess containers for charges unpaid by Hanjin. 
"However, if there is no such clause in their agreements, then the leasing companies could end up on the wrong end of a claim in the bankruptcy case of taking Hanjin assets improperly," she said. 
Those leasing companies could find themselves answering to the bankruptcy court because they are taking action without bankruptcy court approval.
This still leaves open the possibility that third parties may make extortionate demands for the release of cargo or otherwise seek to gouge unfortunate victims of the Hanjin insolvency.

This news 2272 hits received.

COMMENTS

  • 0 Comment