Hanjin wins approval to sell stake in container terminal operator

South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Co. container ship Hanjin Montevideo, top, is anchored outside the Port of Long Beach on Sept. 1.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co. has received permission from a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to sell its majority stake in a Long Beach container terminal operator.

Hanjin will sell its stake to a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., which already owns 46% of operator Total Terminals International Inc. The company offered $78 million for Hanjin’s stake, said Charles Gale, principal deputy city attorney of Long Beach.

Total Terminals International, also known as TTI, is the only terminal operator at Pier T at the Port of Long Beach. TTI operates a 380-acre yard there. The operator also has terminals in Oakland and Seattle.


“We’re pleased that the judge did affirm the approval,” said Lori Ann Guzman, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. Pier T “is perfectly situated, in terms of the waterfront. It’s one of our greatest assets.”

In approving the sale, Bankruptcy Judge John Sherwood in New Jersey overruled objections from U.S. creditors that they could lose out in the deal.

Hanjin filed for bankruptcy in August, part of widespread turbulence in the shipping industry, which has been roiled by slower global demand. Shippers purchased more and bigger vessels, but the anticipated business never materialized.

The company’s bankruptcy filing stalled delivery of goods as the world’s seventh-largest shipping line idled its ships outside the dock, fearing that the vessels would be seized by creditors.

Guzman said traffic at the Long Beach terminal declined last year compared with 2015, although she said it would be difficult to parse out how much of that decrease was the result of Hanjin’s bankruptcy.

“With the sale taking place,” Gale said, “we are expecting substantially more containers to come through than have come through in the last several months.”