Insolvency of Hanjin: Implications for Swiss freight forwarders and shippers/recipients in Switzerland

Insolvency of Hanjin, bankcruptcy proceeding, securing proceedings

The insolvency of the container shipping company Hanijn freezes cargo on vessels and ports in amount of USD 14 Billions. Worldwide, all concerned parties try to defreeze their cargo and face complex legal problems.

Swiss companies must now analyse the implications of these problems in Switzerland which can be outlined as follows (see in detail Raphael Brunner, KOLT-Newsletter, in German):

  • Both freight forwarders and shippers/recipients in Switzerland will suffer damage because of late delivery or even loss of the shipped cargo. All involved parties within the logistics chain will face further consequential problems because of their own problems to fulfill their own contractual obligations.
  • Freight forwarders will probably face further charges, fees and costs for defreezing its cargo. Based on their insurance policies, they should analyze their contractual terms and obligation under those contracts that are affected by the freezed cargo. Due to some tights limitations periods, Freight forwarders should immediately check their rights against all contractual partners and use all security rights possible in order to minimize their financial exposure. Furthermore, freight forwarders will have to find new shipping capacities for their customers facing higher fright rates caused by said insolvency.
  • Shippers and Receivers should also check their contractual obligations within the logistic chain including their contracts with freight forwarder, shippers and further contracting partners which are affected by the freezed cargo. Based on the insurance policies, they should analyze their contractual terms and obligation in view of possible differences in terms of liability in all contractions regarding the cargo freezed within this insolvency. They should contact their insurance companies and, due to tights limitations periods, immediately the check their security rights in Switzerland and abroad.

The insolvency of Hinjin will be an issue for the next years. In order to safeguard rights, the companies involved should check their legal rights and be aware of the commercial risk and financial exposure.

* Prof. Dr. Andreas Furrer

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