NRF Raises Hanjin Shipping Concerns With Feds

The National Retail Federation was among a coalition of 120 organizations representing retailers, manufacturers, agribusinesses and other sectors to send a joint letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that outline concerns regarding the ongoing issues with Hanjin Shipping’s recent bankruptcy filing.

“U.S. businesses rely on predictability in their supply chains, particularly during the busiest shipping season of the year,” the letter said. “The recent bankruptcy filing has caused widespread disruptions in freight shipments worldwide… The impact on small and medium sized companies could be particularly devastating if this situation is not resolved in a timely manner.”

Among the concerns raised in the letter is ongoing confusion about the location of cargo, where it will be unloaded and whether a cargo owner’s goods will be seized by Hanjin’s creditors once the ships are docked. The coalition also told Pritzker that shippers are facing both higher fees assessed to pick up cargo as well as steadily increasing freight charges as they look for new transportation options.

The NRF and other business groups in the letter asked Pritzker to continue working with the South Korean government to resolve the matter “to allow cargo to move through the global supply chain and give certainty to U.S. businesses.”

As previously reported by, the Hanjin bankruptcy filing in late August stranded some 80 ships and about 500,000 containers of goods on the water as U.S. ports blocked their entry. Retailers and product suppliers, including some in housewares, have worried that they would not be able to secure products on those ships that are needed for the fourth quarter.