Christmas shoppers and Korean correspondents were among the likely victims of the collapse of South Korean container shipper Hanjin Shipping.
Hanjin, which filed for court receivership on August 31, was no minor industry player; industry data provider Alphaliner placed Hanjin at the seventh largest globally, with 98 ships and a 2.9 percent market share. That compared with the largest, APM-Maersk, with around 622 ships and a 15.4 percent market share.
Banks stopped providing financial support to Hanjin, which has been bleeding red ink, last week. That spurred the shipping line to file for court receivership on August 31. As a result, as many as 66 of Hanjin's container ships were denied access to ports around the world and at least one ship was seized, according to media reports.
Hanjin Shipping's lead creditor bank, Korea Development Bank, balked on Wednesday at a South Korean court request to provide the shipper with additional funds to resolve issues with an estimated $14 billion worth of stranded cargo, amid expectations the company would likely end up being liquidated, Reuters reported.
Hanjin's parent company, Hanjin Group, planned to raise around $90 million to help cover the cost of unloading cargo, but the court said the amount was inadequate and that it wasn't clear when that plan would be executed, the report said.
That has left a lot of uncertainty over how long Hanjin's ships will sit idle.
It might be too early to know yet what this Christmas' "it" toy will be, but there's a good chance that Hanjin's standstill means it might be even more scarce than usual this year. Analysts at Citigroup said that toys were likely to be the product most impacted as retailers awaited their shipments of Christmas goodies.
In a research note on Tuesday, Citi analysts said "softlines," or retail inventory that doesn't usually come in a box, such as linens or personal items such as gloves, were also likely to be impacted, although department stores appeared to have been reducing their exposure to Hanjin over the past few months.
But they added, "There may be some exposure for branded goods that the department stores purchase as they are unsure at this point which of their vendors may use Hanjin."