Hanjin Cargo Crisis Draws to a Close
The South Korean government announced Tuesday that the Hanjin Shipping cargo crisis is approaching an end.
"A total of 94 out of 97 Hanjin container ships, including 52 in foreign ports and 42 in domestic ports, have completed their cargo unloading," the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said in a statement.
According to Vice Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok, 95 percent of the 400,000 TEU on board Hanjin's fleet at the time of the bankruptcy filing has been offloaded. However, the minister cautioned that about 50,000 TEU have yet to reach their final destinations – some still trapped on Hanjin ships, some still waiting at terminals.
The final offloading of the last few vessels could be complicated by the fact that several of them are under arrest, reports Korea Times.
Vice Minister Choi also went to some lengths to dispel rumors that Hanjin's collapse was somehow linked to a widening influence-peddling scandal involving advisors to President Park Geun-hye.
“The government has repeated numerous times that Hanjin failed to meet requirements to stabilize their management such as by carrying out management turnaround plans,” said Choi, as reported by Korea JoongAng Daily. “I would like to emphasize once again that the [Choi Soon-sil] scandal has nothing to do with Hanjin.”
President Park's approval rating has cratered to a record low of five percent on news that a close friend with ties to a religious cult has been intimately involved with the operation of her government. Choi Soon-sil, who has known Park for four decades, allegedly used her connections within the administration to funnel donations to foundations which were under her own control. Korean media report that she may have pressured Hanjin's creditors to suspend support for the ailing container line as a punishment for its paltry charitable contributions.