Hanjin Shipping Co., South Korea’s largest container line that has put its Asia-US business on sale after filing for bankruptcy protection late August, won approval from a court to wind down its European operations as demand for its services to the continent slumped.
The judge overseeing Hanjin’s receivership at the Seoul Central District Court approved the firm’s request, a court spokesman said. Hanjin will close all its 10 branches in Europe, including its regional headquarters in Germany, the container line’s spokeswoman said separately on Monday. The Seoul-based company expects to start the process as early as this week, she said.
The decision to shut down its Europe business is part of the breakup process of Hanjin kicked off by the Seoul court, which earlier said it would consider selling the company entirely. Hanjin is also seeking separate bids for its Asia-US network as well as the investment in a terminal in Long Beach, California. The closure may benefit bigger rivals, such as A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and CMA CGM SA, as competition eases on one of the world’s biggest trade lane.