Commission Weighs MSC Offer for Hanjin Shipping Terminal at Port of Long Beach

The MSC Flavia is docked at Pier T in the Port of Long Beach. File Photo: MSC
The MSC Flavia is docked at Pier T in the Port of Long Beach. File Photo: MSC

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is set to consider an offer from a unit of Mediterranean Shipping Company to purchase Hanjin Shipping’s majority stake in the long-term lease to operate the Port of Long Beach’s largest container terminal, known as Pier T.

If approved, the pact could bring in business to replace cargo volume lost at the terminal when South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, who held the lease, declared bankruptcy in August. It would also make Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), the world’s second largest shipping line, the sole holder of the lease at Long Beach’s largest terminal.

Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), a subsidiary of MSC, this week announced it had signed an agreement to purchase Hanjin Shipping’s 54% stake in the terminal operator at Pier T, Total Terminals International (TTI). The South Korean bankruptcy court is seeking approvals for the agreement from U.S. authorities, including the Port of Long Beach.

“We welcome the industry’s interest in Long Beach’s Pier T. As our largest terminal, it’s a remarkable asset, with an important role in handling the cargo that sustains so many jobs in Long Beach and the region,” said Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzmán. “If the Board approves this agreement, we look forward to working with our industry partners to continue improving and modernizing the Port of Long Beach.”

TTI, the terminal operating company for Hanjin Shipping, signed a 25-year lease to operate Pier T in Long Beach in August 2002. In 2013, Mediterranean Shipping Co. bought a share of the lease at Pier T. The new pact would give MSC sole control over the lease and would require installation of two new cranes capable of handling container ships with capacities of 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), within three years.

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is scheduled to hold a special meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the sale.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port handles $180 billion in trade annually, supporting hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.