FMC motions to dismiss San Diego port complaint against PMA
A U.S. Federal Maritime Commission administrative law judge motioned to dismiss a complaint lodged by the San Diego Unified Port District against the Pacific Maritime Association for alleged adverse economic impact from reprioritizing the unloading of refrigerated cargo ships in the port.
The PMA made the decision to reprioritize the unloading of refrigerated cargo ships at San Diego on Sept. 24. This means that refrigerated cargo ships no longer receive “priority one” status by dockside labor when they enter the San Diego port.
Bruce Hollingsworth, executive director of the San Diego Unified Port District, sent a letter to the PMA on Sept. 30 alleging that its decision cost the port $87,815 in damages. The letter claimed that a melon shipper had planned to move 18 refrigerated vessels with fresh melons to San Diego, but canceled its plans due to the removal of the priority for labor gangs for refrigerated cargoes at the port.
Furthermore, the port alleged the PMA’s actions raised concerns related to antitrust provisions in the 1984 Shipping Act.
The PMA asked the FMC to dismiss the complaint, pointing out that maritime labor matters are exempt from the Shipping Act and that the Act does not extend to the Maritime Labor Agreements Act.