Date: Friday, September 23, 2022
Source: Splash 24/7
Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), the world’s largest containerline, shows no sign of giving in on a legal fight it is having with a client in the US.
In August last year Pennsylvania-based home decor manufacturer MCS Industries filed a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in Washington DC, claiming MSC had contravened the US Shipping Act and not stuck to its agreed shipping commitments. The case has since stretched on and on with neither side backing down.
Geneva-based MSC had been given to last night to produce further documents to the FMC, something it failed to do, with the Aponte family controlled line claiming today that Swiss law prevents it from producing certain documents without proper authorisation from the Swiss authorities. MSC said today via an extensive 64-page document lodged with the commission late last night it is fully cooperating with the FMC and has proposed a process that will allow it to fully comply with both US and Swiss law.
As to the merits of the case, MSC stated it is a contractual dispute and that MCS Industries has long since abandoned its collusion claims.
“The claims that MSC did not meet its contractual obligations are likewise meritless,” MSC stated, suggesting that MCS Industries’ difficulties with its cargo bookings arose from errors and communication issues between the cargo owner and third-party intermediaries, and not from any wrongdoing by MSC. MSC said today it will continue to defend this case vigorously.
Other shippers have been lodging complaints against global carriers of late with experts suggesting more will follow suit.
“The softened market – and space situation – may well cause a flurry of suits and FMC complaints to be filed, and clearly, some who have already filed, like MCS Industries, are emboldened to hold on,” commented Bjorn Vang Jensen, a vice president at liner consultancy Sea-Intelligence, in a recent post on LinkedIn.
“The collective, pent-up anger and PTSD in the BCO community at large now wants out, and rate reductions won’t cut it for some,” said Jensen, a man whose career has seen him work for the likes of Maersk and Electrolux in the past.