Hanjin bankruptcy could mean price spikes for TVs, cars, other large products


Enlarge / Prepare to see less activity on Hanjin ships thanks to a bankruptcy filing this week. (credit: Josh Hallett)

TV manufacturers have moved on to another set of standards, hoping to convince us to pay up for new sets, but adoption of standards such as 4K resolution and “high dynamic range” (HDR) displays may very well live and die by finding the right price point in stores. That won’t be easier for Korean monitor makers in the coming months, however, thanks to the Tuesday bankruptcy filing by major South Korean shipping company Hanjin.

South Korean electronics company LG made a Thursday announcement confirming that it would immediately cancel all overseas shipments with Hanjin—primarily because the company’s ships, crates, and other major shipping assets have been seized at various ports across the world and are not being allowed entry at other ports out of fears that Hanjin will not be able to pay required fees. Other manufacturers of major mechanical and large-electronic products, including Samsung, have also confirmed feeling the Hanjin-related pinch. As a result, shipping rates are jumping drastically.

As Reuters reports, shipping rates have jumped “about 55 percent” on the routes normally trafficked by Hanjin ships—and companies like Hyundai, which operates its own shipping business, are enjoying the spoils. In the meantime, slowed and stranded shipments could have an immediate impact on product prices for big-ticket electronics, especially as retailers ramp up for the American holiday shopping season. Air freight is often relied upon more heavily for smaller-sized electronics like smartphones, so Hanjin’s woes shouldn’t impact prices on those products. But whether due to rarity or higher shipping prices, things probably won’t get any cheaper for any larger products made by South Korean companies this fall and winter.

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