PSA imposes $5,000 refundable deposit for each Hanjin container

PSA imposes $5,000 refundable deposit for each Hanjin container

Firms with cargo shipped by Hanjin Shipping have to fork out a refundable deposit of $5,000 for every container they take delivery of, according to a circular by PSA Corp on Sept 6.

The deposit will be given back when companies return the same and empty container to PSA's yard.

This comes as Hanjin, the world's seventh-largest shipping line, filed for receivership last month, leaving more than 100 ships carrying about US$14 billion (S$19.2 billion) worth of cargo stranded globally.

Three ships chartered to Hanjin have been seized by creditors and sold, with two more up for sale.

But in Singapore, the High Court has temporarily frozen all Singapore proceedings against the troubled shipping giant and its Singapore subsidiaries, pending a full hearing for all parties here on whether the freeze should continue until next January. This means creditors cannot seize Hanjin vessels here for now.

The PSA circular, seen by The Straits Times last Friday, said the consignee or its haulier representative must inform Hanjin of its intention to take delivery of its goods and complete the necessary documentation.

Hanjin will inform PSA who the consignee for a particular container is, before the consignee makes arrangements with PSA to collect the container.

The deposit will facilitate cargo flow and minimise disruption to the supply chain, PSA said.

"During the rehabilitative process for Hanjin, these empty containers are likely to be long-staying. It would be in the best interests of all parties and stakeholders involved to have such empty containers consolidated in one area, such as PSA Singapore Terminals, so as to improve overall coordination and service levels among them."

The Straits Times understands that the deposit applies only to Hanjin containers currently sitting in PSA's yard.

Mr Henry Koh, general manager of Sinoda Shipping Agency, said his firm has helped pay "a huge deposit" for several consignees.

"For our customers, the delivery of the cargo is most important," he said.

A Hanjin container ship, Hanjin Rome, is anchored off the coast of Singapore, after being placed under court arrest on Aug 29 following a civil claim by Hanjin's creditors.

This took place before the High Court issued the order for a temporary freeze on all proceedings related to Hanjin.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said Hanjin vessels are not barred from entering Singapore, as long as they pay prevailing port dues and charges.

An industry source said PSA's move could act as some form of guarantee that it "does not lose out" if Hanjin does go under. PSA is said to be among those owed money by Hanjin.

"If Hanjin cannot be rehabilitated, perhaps the containers, depending on the contract terms, can be sold for some money.

"It won't be much, but in the corporate world, a dollar is still a dollar," he said.

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 19, 2016.
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