The Port of Oakland has started receiving empty containers owned by South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping to avert a potential supply chain meltdown resulting from the ocean carrier’s bankruptcy, the port said in a statement.
The announcement means cargo owners and truckers won’t have to find storage space for the unwanted boxes after they are emptied. It also means empties can be removed from chassis, freeing up the scarce equipment to transport new loads. Storage space is needed worldwide because Hanjin Shipping has said it won’t accept empty containers on its vessels.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding Hanjin’s bankruptcy filing,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.
“With this move, we can at least eliminate the worry about storage and prevent a potentially crippling chassis shortage.”
The port said empty Hanjin-owned containers can be returned to its Roundhouse property on Middle Harbor Road. The site is adjacent to Oakland International Container Terminal, where Hanjin ships are loaded and unloaded.
The port added that containers identified by the prefix HJCU will be received. It advised truckers to contact Hanjin to ensure that the empty containers are Hanjin-owned and not leased.
The terminal will process empties and remove them from chassis. Truck drivers will then be required to return the chassis through the main gates at Oakland International Container Terminal.
The port said harbor truck drivers can begin returning Hanjin-owned boxes on September 22 which will be accepted between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, local time.
Hanjin’s filing for bankruptcy protection has disrupted the global supply chain, the port said. Many of the carrier’s ships are stranded at sea, forbidden to berth at ports. Two Hanjin ships have arrived in Oakland to discharge cargo since the filing was announced.
The port said operations haven’t been hampered by Hanjin’s predicament. It added, however, that the empty container problem threatened to inhibit cargo flow in and out of Oakland. It expected the newly designated storage property to avert that outcome.