The Port of Long Beach said Thursday afternoon that a ship, Express Athens
, is being chartered to remove containers leased by South Korean ocean carrier Hanjin Shipping from the port.
The Southern California port said the ship will remove 4,300 empty containers leased by Hanjin from leasing companies including Triton, Textainer, Seacube and Florens. Only specific containers will be removed and the companies returning the containers must have authorization from the leasing companies.
An estimated 6,000 Hanjin containers are still sitting on chassis at locations around Southern California, making them unavailable to move cargo in and out of terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
The Port of Long Beach said the deal will "clear a significant
backlog of empty cargo containers from Southern California and free up
the chassis they sit on."
The empty containership is expected to arrive at Total Terminals International's (TTI) Pier T terminal at the Port of Long Beach next week to remove the containers.
The port said the benefit of the deal is being felt throughout the region
immediately as containers are being removed from the chassis.
“TTI has already begun accepting empty Hanjin containers
from container-leasing companies, freeing up every chassis that drops
off a container,” said Noel Hacegaba, managing director of commercial operations and chief commercial officer for the Port of Long Beach. “We expect that as many as 3,000
containers will literally be taken off the street and shipped back to
Asia, with another 1,300 being removed from the port, putting thousands
of chassis back to work.”
Hanjin owns 54 percent of TTI in a joint service with Mediterranean Shipping Co.
The Port of Long Beach said TTI will still charge for loading the containers on the ship but do so "at cost." However, the port will waive its fee for access to the terminal.
“We feel this is a fair and
necessary accommodation to keep goods moving through the ports in
Southern California and to ensure our customers are able to remove their
containers,” Hacegaba said.
The port said the four container leasing companies will pay for the chartering of the ship, which is owned by the Emirates shipping line. It did not know how much they are paying to charter the ship.
Port spokesman Lee Peterson said he did not know "where the ship is coming from and where it will take the containers, other than the ship will go to Asia. It’s probably going to a port in China."
The container-leasing companies "had leased those containers to Hanjin, and of course the bankruptcy caused those containers to become stranded in Southern California. So the container-leasing companies will bring their containers back to Asia and lease them to someone else. They are empties and they are needed in Asia."It helps to more quickly get these stranded, Hanjin-leased containers off of chassis and off container terminal yards, to free up those chassis and that space for cargo."
He noted Hanjin-owned containers have largely already been taken back to Korea over the last two months. The ones left behind typically are Hanjin-leased containers."
Instructions for delivering the containers can be found at TTI's website