An important development has occurred that I have not seen adequately covered by the mainstream media. It is the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s largest shipping fleet owner and the seventh largest shipping fleet in the world. Many people may wonder, “Why does this affect me?” It could end up affecting a lot of us as this crisis unfolds, and perhaps worsens, in the global shipping business.

The four links below offer various perspectives on the Hanjin bankruptcy. As readers realize, most of the world’s international commerce travels via large merchant ships carrying immense numbers of cargo containers which can be unloaded at port facilities and transferred to railroads or trucking firms for final delivery to consignees and retailers. The links point out that with the bankruptcy declaration, all parties that do business with Hanjin in any way are not sure that they will ever be paid. This includes a plethora of businesses, port authorities and port operators, merchant sailors, cargo insurers, etc. This bankruptcy will have major ripple effects throughout the global economy. Hanjin’s ships are now, essentially, stuck in place as port authorities will not allow them to dock or sail. Ports will not unload Hanjin’s ships. The merchants that were expecting to get their retail goods of all kinds from mostly-Asian manufactures are unsure when, if ever, they will receive their ordered products. As hundreds of thousands of shipping containers are stranded at sea or at ports, ports and port facilities are going to “clog up” with unloaded Hanjin ships and shipping containers. Some of the links note that Hanjin’s bankruptcy could also put some trucking firms out of business if those firms depend heavily on shipping Hanjin’s containers to retailers.

The fourth link seems to have a unique perspective in its heading, but I’ve included it as it has an excellent chart of the Baltic Dry Index, a statistical report that is a good indicator of the overall volume and health of global maritime commerce. A high or rising level means global trade is healthy and/or increasing, and a low or dropping level means global trade is at a low and/or declining level. The chart shows that the index has been at a low level for an extended period of time, indicating that global trade is in a prolonged contraction phase. If this index stays low or drops even further, it argues that a global fiscal/mercantile crisis is in the offing.

If Hanjin Shipping had to declare bankruptcy, it obviously means that it cannot stay in business in the current environment of low levels of maritime commerce. One does wonder how many other global maritime shipping companies are nearing bankruptcy as well due to the same bad conditions affecting their industry. If more large shipping companies also have to declare bankruptcy, the transportation network for global commerce could seize up on a much larger scale, affecting merchants/retailers all over the world as well as many banks, insurers, ground transportation companies, port operators, etc. If merchants and retailers cannot get delivery of their ordered products, they can’t stay in business indefinitely either. Since no one who does business with Hanjin knows if they will ever be paid for their services, how long will it be until creditors start seizing cargo containers on Hanjin ships via financial liens or court-orders to “grab what they can” to recover some value to pay their own bills due from Hanjin? Things could get ugly if Hanjin’s diverse creditors start seizing cargoes from Hanjin’s ships which were originally intended to go to Wal-Mart, Target and other major retailers. What if multiple creditors try to seize the same cargo from Hanjin’s ships? One link notes the toy industry and all merchants dependent on the “Christmas shopping season” are particularly at risk.

My previous post focused on the biblically-prophesied collapse of global commerce and financial/monetary systems at some point in the latter days. If you have not done so, I urge you to read that post and review the articles referenced in it. Revelation 17 and18 prophesy that global commerce will come to a screeching halt at some point in the future, triggering a global financial collapse. Is the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping one more indicator that we are drawing closer to the fulfillment of Revelation 17-18’s prophecy? I think the answer is yes, although I do not predict specific dates regarding the fulfillment of that prophecy. The time of that prophecy’s fulfillment is in God’s hands.