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FMC Monitoring Operational, Competitive Impacts of Hanjin Bankruptcy

Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Maritime Commission has issued two notices indicating that there is little immediate assistance it can provide to those affected by the recent bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, the world’s seventh-largest ocean common carrier (see separate article this issue for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s guidance on handling cargo transported by Hanjin). The FMC notes that this is a non-U.S. legal matter at the moment and that it does not intercede in legal actions between third parties that will be heard by the courts. Instead, the FMC advises affected parties, including shippers, to consult with their attorneys on what remedies may be available to them.

The FMC states that its primary concern is the operational and competitive impacts of Hanjin’s status on the shipping industry broadly. As a result, FMC staff will be closely monitoring the situation for the foreseeable future for any developments that might impact shipping markets. In particular, the FMC “will be vigilant in watching for, and quick to act on, any improper behavior by other carriers and regulated parties (such as marine terminal operators, non-vessel-operating common carriers, and freight forwarders) that would constitute violations of the Shipping Act.”

To that end, the FMC has established a protocol for communicating allegations of Shipping Act violations or requests for assistance related to retrieving or receiving cargo in transit. Such submissions should be communicated in writing via email and include “URGENT—HANJIN SHIPPING” in the subject line. Among other things, requests should include a full description of the matter (including any attempts already made to resolve the problem), the desired solution, all relevant documentation (e.g., contract, bill of lading, proof of payment, bookings, order for service, invoice for service, emails about the issue, dock receipts, arrival notices, invoices, terminal appointments, terminal operating hours/stoppages, etc.), a description of the cargo, the ports of origin and destination (including terminal, railramp, etc.), and the date of shipment or sailing. Emails will be referred to the appropriate FMC office for review and assessment of any potential agency action.

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