Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea. Photo: Reuters, Kim Hong-Ji

By Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) – Korea Development Bank (KDB), the lead creditor of Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd is considering lending about 50 billion won ($45 million) to help unload stranded cargo, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

An estimated $14 billion of cargo was trapped on Hanjin ships when the world’s seventh-largest container carrier collapsed late last month, creating havoc ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season.

Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

The source, who was not authorised to speak to the media, declined to be identified.

KDB will discuss the matter with the Financial Services Commission and will make a decision on whether to lend the funds on Thursday or Friday, online news service Money Today reported earlier on Thursday, citing an unnamed KDB source.

The news follows Korean Air Lines, Hanjin Shipping’s largest shareholder, agreeing on Wednesday to lend 60 billion won to help unload cargo.

A KDB spokesman declined comment.

The airline’s loan is in addition to 40 billion won provided by the Hanjin Group’s chairman, and 10 billion won provided by a former Hanjin Shipping chairwoman.

If Korea Development Bank decides to lend, the total is still short of the 173 billion won Hanjin estimated in a court submission early this month that it needed to unload all cargo.

Accounting for additional costs such as charter fees and fuel costs incurred since the court receivership began, Hanjin now estimates cargo unloading costs could reach about 270 billion won, a Seoul Central District Court judge said on Thursday.

Around 30 of Hanjin’s 97 leased and owned container ships have completed unloading, South Korea’s finance minister said on Wednesday. All chartered vessels have been ordered to be returned to their owners but dozens remain waiting at sea while funds are raised and protection from creditors is organised.

With debt of about 6 trillion won at the end of June and the South Korean government’s unwillingness to mount a rescue, expectations are low that Hanjin Shipping will survive.

($1 = 1,099.9000 won)

(Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Lincoln Feast)

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