Over a month has gone by since Hanjin Shipping Co. sought bankruptcy protection in South Korea, and the company’s customers are still battling to retrieve their stranded goods. Ashley Furniture is one of those customers.
The Wisconsin-based furniture giant said it has been left out to dry to clean up the logistical mess of Hanjin’s bankruptcy. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Ashley’s lawyers have asked U.S. Judge John Sherwood to help it recover more than $1 million in damages they said is owed to Ashley for having to retrieve cargo containers delivered to the wrong ports. The furniture maker also said it had to store trucks used to transport the containers that normally would have been returned to Hanjin, but were abandoned in bankruptcy.
The two companies are currently duking it out in a New Jersey bankruptcy court.
Ashley is also asking Judge Sherwood to allow it to withhold damages from fees it owes to Hanjin, which Ashley said were caused by the shipper’s collapse - damaging Ashley's supply chain. Hanjin is refusing to release some of Ashley’s cargo until it is paid in full.
Ashley has been successful in retrieving some containers, but at weeks behind schedule. Other containers, which are still stocked with the company’s furniture products, are aboard Hanjin ships or are sitting in ports waiting to be released.
Ashley had about 700 containers aboard Hanjin ships when the bankruptcy was filed.
Due to the case’s complicated nature, Judge Sherwood needed more time to consider the dispute and put off ruling, WSJ reported. Another hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20.
Hanjin, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, filed for bankruptcy in South Korea late August and days later launched another bankruptcy proceeding in the U.S.
After bankruptcy was filed, certain ports were unwilling to unload Hanjin ships out of fear they wouldn’t be paid. Hanjin was also reluctant to send ships to U.S. ports, where they feared the ships could be seized by creditors owed millions of dollars for fuel and other services.