Restraining order sought

US: Global Container Terminals go to court to block exit of Maersk

As the COVID-19 situation unfolds and demand has dropped, global carriers are heavily curtailing ocean services. Just as it makes sense to rationalize vessel deployment, it also makes sense to rationalize terminal usage.

A legal fight in Staten Island, New York, could be a sign of things to come. The coronavirus is front and center, at least in terms of rhetoric.

Global Container Terminals (GCT), which operates the facility on Staten Island, is seeking an emergency restraining order to prevent A.P. Moller Maersk (APM)-owned Maersk Line and Hamburg Sud from pulling out and switching over to the nearby Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, site operated by APM subsidiary APM Terminals (APMT).

Maersk said in a letter on April 10 that Maersk Line and Hamburg Sud vessels would cease calls at GCT New York by May 1. It said it was willing to pay a settlement of $5.5 million, including an early termination fee of $2.1 million and additional consideration of $3.4 million.

GCT USA President John Atkins claimed in a court filing Monday that its agreement with Maersk ran through Dec. 31, 2022, and could only be terminated early on Dec. 31, 2021, and only if six months' notice is given.

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