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Los Angeles • The bankruptcy of the Hanjin Shipping container ship company has caused global transportation chaos, with gigantic container ships stuck and merchants worried goods they ordered may not reach store shelves.

The South Korean company filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday and stopped accepting new cargo.

Ships from China to Canada have been refused permission to offload or take aboard containers because there are no guarantees that tugboat pilots or stevedores will be paid.

Port officials say three Hanjin ships were refused terminal space at California's massive Long Beach container terminal.

A fourth has been prevented from leaving until payment is settled.

Ocean freight shipping fees between China and the U.S. have soared as much as 50 percent since the bankruptcy was announced.

Experts expect the increase to be temporary.