NVO files complaint against Damco, Maersk
Draft Cargoways India, a Chennai, India-based non-vessel-operating common carrier doing business in the United States, has responded to a lawsuit filed by Damco, the logistics arm of the A.P. Moller – Maersk group, by filing a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission.
Draft was sued on Aug. 19 in U.S. District Court in Virginia by Damco USA, which said Draft had not paid $174,412.50 in detention and demurrage charges.
Damco said that from December 2007 to November 2008, shipments were carried for Draft “onboard vessels owned or operated by Maersk for which equipment detention and demurrage charges in the total amount of $174,412.50 lawfully were incurred,” but never paid.
But last week, Draft complained to the FMC that Damco USA, Denmark-based Damco A/S and A.P. Moller – Maersk “repeatedly utilized a 'bait-and-switch' scheme ' misleading the shipping public, including Draft, and the federal court in its complaint by utilizing Damco U.S., Damco A/S, and Maersk as interchangeable parts with a complete disregard of the requirements of the Shipping Act as to each of those entities as regulated persons subject to the Shipping Act.”
Draft complained that Damco and Maersk “attempted to impose the terms and conditions of Maersk’s bills of lading and tariffs without the shipping public, including Draft , having any knowledge that it was, in fact dealing with Maersk, and not the parties with whom it had contracted — in this case, Damco A/S.”
Draft said some of the demurrage and detention charges “occurred due to non-availability of chassis at terminals or untimely updated terminal release status reports, or due to Damco U.S.’s agreement to extend free time to Draft and/or its customers due to the aforementioned circumstances, and then by Maersk failing to uphold the agreements entered into by Damco U.S.”
Draft also complained Damco and Maersk “knowingly disclosed, offered, solicited and received information” without Draft’s consent and that Draft had “lost significant business to Maersk,” which it regards as a competitor.
Draft asked the FMC to compel Damco and Maersk to respond to its charges and hold a hearing. It wants the FMC to hold that the companies violated the Shipping Act and make reparations for $20,725 related to demurrage and retention and $150,000 for lost business and clients. It also wants an order for Damco to cease and desist the case in federal court in Virginia.