SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 — A U.S. judge has ruled that the Taipei, Taiwan, based Shanghai Commercial Bank must cooperate with Nobu Su's TMT shipping line and stop its arrest of the 37,000 ton bulk carrier, C Handy.
This follows a similar ruling last month on TMT vessel B Handy and, says TMT, shows TMT creditor banks are now willing to adopt a more consensual approach in their relationship with the shipping line
TMT is seeking to restructure its business using U.S. Chapter 11 protections that allow companies to keep operating during financial difficulties.
TMT owner Nobu Su argues that it makes more sense for his creditors, including the Shanghai Commercial Bank, to allow him to keep trading and thus earn money to settle his debts.
Now U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes sitting in Houston, Texas where TMT has extensive business interests has ordered the Taiwanese Shanghai Commercial Bank to cease its arrest of the C Handy, a modern two-year old Hyundai built vessel, and allow Nobu Su's money held in a retention account to be used to pay for bunker,
crew and other charges so that the C Handy can start trading again. The bank did not oppose the move.
The sitting lasted only one hour and Mr. Su hailed the decision "as a welcome step forward in my efforts to keep Taiwan in the forefront of the shipping business despite the wish of many other European shipping lines to see me closed down as a competitor coming from Asia. I welcome the fact that the banks are now seeking consensus and I will work with them in that spirit."
In London this week Mr. Su met with cargo brokers and traders from Antwerp and Immingham who expressed their hope that his C Ladybug cargo ships would soon be back as business as freight rates had risen by up to 25 per cent in the absence of competition from TMT.
Mr. Su was told that people had lost their jobs in Antwerp because maneuvers by one creditor bank was still delaying C Ladybug's release.
A TMT spokesperson said: "There are cargoes ready to go to Africa and Asia from Antwerp and Immingham and cargo agents keen to work with TMT so that prices can come down to normal. The delaying actions by one of our creditors banks is a problem we shall work hard to overcome. "
TMT representatives are set to meet shortly with senior Flemish politicians from the ruling government to explain that Antwerp is being damaged by actions from firms outside Europe using the Belgian legal system to stop TMT from trading. Mr. Su continues to financially support crew members of the C Ladybug who are held as near prisoners on their ship because of the action by one bank in Taiwan.
In London on September 17, Mr. Su signed an important new contract for TMT that sees one of his tankers, C Elephant, chartered by Chevron to carry crude. Mr. Su says he believes that with nearly all of his ships out of their difficulties and back earning money he can restore TMT to profitability and success as a global Asia-based shipping line.